2020 has been a huge challenge for everyone and thanks to you all at the Norwegian British Chamber of Commerce for your very generous donation towards our work. We are proud of how Bede has continued to support the most vulnerable in our community, even as we now enter a new period of Tier 4 restrictions .
When lockdown closed our buildings in March, we quickly adapted to use Zoom video conferencing to not only keep in touch with everyone, but to continue to provide effective help for those most in need. We’ll continue to use the experience we’ve gained over coming weeks and months until the vaccine hopefully brings the virus under control.
Counselling and safety support sessions for our Starfish project’s clients have adapted well to Zoom. These have enabled women experiencing domestic abuse to find ways to live more safely and rebuild their lives.
Our clients with Learning Disabilities have also adapted quickly and we now provide two Zoom sessions a day on a variety of topics, including Zumba dance, baking, music and discussion.
However, Zoom and telephone calls are no substitute for real person to person contact. Since July, we have been reopening sessions as much as possible within the prevailing restrictions. It’s been a “stop start” process.
Social distancing restrictions limit the number of people we can work with at any one time, but our Youth Project still managed to run a very successful Summer Programme. Although we couldn’t go into the countryside as normal, our young people were just glad to be out of the house. Even games in the car park at Bede were an adventure! The Summer Programme included a free lunch-time meal. Many families have lost incomes during the pandemic and these meals were really important for those worried about their children going hungry during the school holidays.
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how important our local resources are, especially during difficult times. We’re delivering food and activity packs to families stuck indoors and to those whose income has been affected. We’ve had door step conversations to celebrate a birthday, or just to ease the tension when a carer felt they couldn’t get through the next day alone. We’ve made informed judgements in balancing the conflicting risks of infection, poverty and fragmenting mental health and found creative ways to meet our clients’ needs.
The pandemic has slowed the development of the New Bede Centre, but there has still been progress and we are hopeful that the construction company Bouygues will start on site this year.
2021 is starting as uncertainly as 2020 ended. We’ve learnt how important it is to have strong networks of support around us to adapt to each new challenge, and we are grateful for being part of the Norwegian British Chamber of Commerce, Thank you for welcoming us.
Please visit www.bedehouse.org.uk to support the charity’s important work.