As you know we are carefully monitoring all new Coronavirus related developments, liaising with other bodies in social care in our region and taking our lead from the nationally provided advice.
Our absolute priority remains everyone’s health and wellbeing, the people we visit and obviously all our volunteers and staff.
Tonight we have received the new national measures which we obviously must implement and so it is with great regret I have to tell you that this means stopping most of our visiting activities.
We are temporarily suspending all visiting of care or medical establishments except by special arrangement organised with us.
From this weekend, we will only be able to visit our home placements by special arrangement. We are working on our exact policy in this area tonight and tomorrow and we will be in touch with all our home visitors by Wednesday the 18th of March.
We will be working together to think through how else we can help our friends at home with errands or shopping or by just scheduling regular chats by phone or facetime etc. We are very conscious that some of them have no families and would be entirely alone without us; we will never just stop any contact at all unless we really aren't needed.
We are still recruiting and still processing everyone in our recruitment pipeline; this situation will pass and life will go on and we may need to help with the community effort as the virus develops.
We are talking to social care organisations about how we – volunteers who are able and would like to – help out in our communities as large groups of people are going to be required to self isolate. We will be in touch with everyone as that thinking develops.
This is such a sad situation for all our volunteers and for many of the people we visit I know. We have no choice but to follow the national guidelines albeit with some isolated exceptions based on specific situations and individual risk assessments.
We will always keep everyone's safety at the heart of everything we do and I know that together we will come up with some creative solutions for keeping in touch remotely.
We will update this guidance continuously as things further develop.
All the best everyone, keep safe.
16th March 2020