Since the UK went into lockdown on Monday 23 March, our number one priority has been to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect staff and residents at both our houses in Liverpool and Newcastle.

These are unprecedented times for everyone, including our residents who are vulnerable and struggle with their mental health and wellbeing.

While most residents are self-isolating, the life they have become accustomed to has almost been cut off. The communal areas within both houses are closed, so they have been encouraged to stay in their flats to self-isolate, except for daily exercise and essential shopping.

Staffing has also been reduced with only one member of staff on site and there is no face-to-face contact with partners and each other except in emergency. Staff have been busy contacting residents daily to check on their wellbeing. Funding partners have provided telephone support to some of the residents, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

We asked residents how they have been feeling during lockdown:

“I miss socialising with my friends. I’m pretty much staying focussed and I’ve even tried something I’ve never tried before by growing vegetables in pots on my balcony. I’m really looking forward to the pubs re-opening so I can meet up with my mates again.”

“My biggest challenge is not being able to see my son. I text his mum everyday to see how he is and I’m trying to arrange a video call. I’m looking forward to seeing him again after lockdown and having a bit more freedom so we can go out and do some activities.”

“I’ve been feeling a little bit lonely, sometimes bored. A little bit depressed but the biggest challenge has not being able to make contact with my children and other members of my family. To keep focussed, I’ve been exercising, reading, watching TV, cooking and making my own book.”

Our Trustees and managers continue to have regular updates and, following Government guidance, we are doing all we can to reassure residents and minimise any risks.

Like many organisations and charities, we are planning for the future and how that may look. We don’t know when the lockdown restrictions will be lifted but we will continue to follow Government guidelines and as life slowly gets back to normal, we will support our residents to help them find employment and independent living opportunities.

These are difficult times, especially for charities like ourselves who rely on personal and corporate donations and fundraising initiatives.

We still very much welcome donations and support in kind during this time to help us to continue to provide the service we do.

We are very grateful to the organisations that have already shown their kindness and generosity to our veteran residents during this time. Emmanuel Global Network UK (Ltd) has donated £600 and provided food parcels for all 29 residents living at Avondale House and we have received £10,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to contribute towards staffing costs, IT equipment for staff to work remotely and to residents in their flats to encourage contact.

We are also very proud of our residents who are stepping up and volunteering to help the NHS and local charities by helping to deliver essential supplies to vulnerable and isolated families. It is great to see them giving back to their local communities.