COVID-19 has made life different and challenging for everyone, but especially vulnerable people living with long-term health conditions who need to shield or self-isolate. We know this is a worrying time for our service users, but also for many of our older volunteers.
Keep in Touch Project
Local communities have gathered to donate food; do essential shopping and deliver prescriptions. This is brilliant, but people who use the Merlin MS Centre are living with neurological and progressive conditions and may have complex physical and mental needs. Without our support they will call upon the already over-burdened health and social care system.
A small therapy team from the charity continues to provide specialist advice, practical support and guidance to our service users with regular telephone and online calls; supporting letters to other health care providers and agencies; signposting to local volunteer services; running online exercise sessions, appropriate to their physical ability; and providing a support group via Facebook.
We have furloughed two thirds of our staff, but we have to keep some staff to run the project and prepare for re-opening the Centre when it is safe to do so. Unfortunately, we have lost almost all means of raising income both at our Centre and through fundraising events and community support. With no statutory funding and reduced income, it is almost impossible to fund wages of staff carrying out this essential work without the community’s support.
We are also now working towards re-opening the Centre in a phased way, focusing on oxygen therapy which people cannot access remotely; introducing some home visits while continuing to run our remote project. In planning for this we have identified some key changes to how we can provide our services safely. This will involve additional costs such as purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), sanitisers and wipes to protect and prevent the spread of the virus; additional cleaning in between oxygen therapy sessions; and funding of staff salaries who are currently furloughed.
To ensure we can continue to offer our service now and re-open when the time comes, we are asking for your support. Whatever you can donate will make a difference to those living with MS and other Neurological conditions in Cornwall.