Canon Simon Butler, Vicar of St Mary’s Battersea (and a trustee of KLS), is writing a weekly e-news to the Coronavirus Angels volunteers. As we’re a partner in this venture we thought we should reproduce it here as it’s full of interesting and relevant stuff!
Dear fellow Angels,
I hope you are all well. Thank you again for all your service in recent weeks. We wanted to update you on some important news.
Coronavirus Angels to Be ‘Mothballed’ Pending Any Return to Lockdown.
We’ve helped hundreds of people in the past few months, especially at the peak of the lockdown. However, as time has passed, and as many volunteers have returned to work, the numbers of requests for practical help have dropped significantly, and the number of volunteers who we find available have diminished. We are therefore going to cease operating the ‘practical help’ and ‘signposting’ elements of the Angels from the end of August, while maintaining a commitment to the people we’re helping through telephone befriending. We are definitely not disbanding the Angels: the news of this week of the danger of local infection spikes and the caution around the situation this winter means that the coordinating group will continue to monitor the situation and, if necessary, revive the Angels to begin to respond with local practical action in the event of another lockdown.
The August ‘Wind-Down’
In the coming few weeks we will be working on ensuring that we communicate properly with those who we have helped, and especially the people who have been the most vulnerable in recent times. We are helping a modest group of people with complex needs and need to give some thought as to how they can be signposted and supported by statutory bodies and others (such as the Foodbank), if they are not already being so. So, we hope we can still call on those who are available to help in the ways you have been doing so over the past months; there will still be people who need our help. We will also let you know more about any future plans.
A Thank You Gathering
Among the important things to do as we wind down is to thank all of you, our wonderful volunteers. We’re giving some thought to a socially-distanced gathering in the Church Yard at St Mary’s in the early autumn, before the nights get too chilly. We will keep you posted.
Love to Learn at Katherine Low Settlement needs volunteers
The Love to Learn programme at Katherine Low Settlement is looking for volunteers this summer! Love to Learn supports children and young people from refugee backgrounds by helping them to raise their educational aspirations and potential.
Lockdown has exacerbated problems such as social isolation and inactivity and we are concerned about the affect this is having on children’s mental health. As an educational charity it is important for us to provide opportunities for young people to connect with others through meaningful activity during this difficult time. So, this August we are delivering an exciting and ambitious programme whilst adhering to government guidelines to ensure that everyone involved is kept safe. This includes basketball, outdoor games, rugby, football coaching, arts and crafts, health and wellbeing workshops, music tuition and cooking classes delivered by professional chefs.
Everything is planned and ready to go but we still need volunteers to do this safely and successfully. Volunteers, that’s you! There are various times, days and ways that you can get involved. If you are interested in volunteering with us and getting some valuable experience supporting young people in your local area please email [email protected] with any further questions and to request an application form.
Bev McAlpine, a local garden designer, has recently begun a horticultural therapy practice. www.Greensense-design.co.uk.Please add my email for anyone interested to contact me directly: [email protected]. Mentioning this also reminds me to alert you to the wonderful work of Thrive in Battersea Park, a great charity which offers therapeutic gardening, using horticulture to help people with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable. Sara Milne, one of the original founders of the Coronavirus Angels, works for them. You can find our more at thrive.org.uk
Canon Simon Butler
Vicar of St Mary’s Battersea
Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury & Member of the Archbishops’ Council
Senior Treasurer, Clergy Support Trust
If you need a bit of help from the Angels then do call us on 07394 856 557 and email [email protected]