I appreciate this is a difficult and worrying time for everyone. I have been overwhelmed by the amazing community spirit shown by people helping each other across the nation and indeed the world. I am writing to let you know what we at Leuchie House are doing to respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and to ask those of you who are able, to please consider coming together to support our efforts at this challenging time.
• Supporting families living with a neurological condition:
Our guests’ health and safety is of the upmost importance, so we have followed the advice of the Scottish Government and public health officials to protect them by temporarily closing for respite. We have some tough times ahead, as do many others, but we know that our guests and their carers can feel isolated at the best of times, so the increased need to remain isolated for a longer period is very likely to have a significant effect on their overall wellbeing.
We will now support our socially isolated guests, who are seriously at risk of loneliness and limited care. We have started an online book group, a Leuchie Live Lounge and we are keeping in touch with more vulnerable guests by phone to help them work out their particular circumstances. We are finding that in many cases we are the only contact a guest is having and the only source of support for their carers.
Over many years, Leuchie has built a highly skilled, dedicated and loyal team and support base. You help us to make an important difference. I will never forget the tears in a first-time guest’s eyes last summer when she thanked me because, in her words “Leuchie has given me back my hope. It’s worth waking up tomorrow” . I am determined that when the current crisis is over, Leuchie will still be here to deliver the service that people in Scotland with neurological conditions and their carers really need.
• Supporting the NHS:
With the Board’s support, we are now working with colleagues in the NHS to divert all of our resource to support their important work. We are making Leuchie House and the brilliant team of very highly skilled colleagues available to support the huge undertaking facing the NHS and social care services right now. It’s a new phase in Leuchie’s journey and I couldn’t be prouder of the team here, whose first thought is not about their job, but about what they can do to help.
Our aim is to provide a service from Monday 30th March which will enable the NHS to free up vital beds for people with higher medical care needs than their current occupants, who will come to Leuchie. We will operate 24/7 to provide nursing and care for these individuals. Whilst we hope to return to our normal role sooner, we are planning to operate in this new way for up to 6 months.
Leuchie House has delivered specialist respite for people living with the long term effects of a neurological condition for over 50 years, so these changes will require a significant change in our service and a change in the expectation of our team, which for some and particularly those who have caring responsibilities out with their work, will be difficult. We are committed to making these changes because we believe whole heartedly that in these extraordinary times this is the best use of the charity’s capabilities.
• Ensuring our future:
Whilst we will receive financial support from the NHS for the service we will provide, this will not cover the income that would have been generated through our respite provision, and the financial impact on our organisation will be significant. We have taken the decision to postpone or cancel all external fundraising activity and events until at least the end of June in order to do our part in reducing the spread of this virus and the pressure on our valuable NHS.
However, we are determined to retain all of our colleagues, whose skills we need now and who will be so urgently needed by guests when we return to our normal purpose. We are facing an unprecedented challenge. We will require £300,000 to secure Leuchie’s future and to retain 80 local people in critical work and urge you, if you’re able to do so at this time, to please consider making a donation to support Leuchie today and help ensure our essential service will still be here for those who need it most.
Regardless of your ability to support today, we draw great strength from knowing that we are in your thoughts, so please stay in touch. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your gift with me, please do get in touch on 01620 892864. My thoughts are with you and your family at this time.
With very best wishes from all at Leuchie House,
Mark Bevan, CEO
- Call us to find out more 01620 892864
- Sign up for our monthly e‑newsletter, Leuchie Outlook