How Leuchie House is responding to the Coronavirus

Dear colleagues and supporters,

It was desperately sad to say goodbye to our last guest at Leuchie on Thursday, going home as we prepared to close Leuchie for respite in line with government direction on protecting those with vulnerable health.

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.

We have some tough times ahead, as do many others, but we know that for our guests and their carers times may be even tougher. The families we support can feel isolated at the best of times, so this increased need to remain isolated for a longer period may have a significant effect on their overall wellbeing. We will continue to support our guests in any way we can including delivering individual and group support online and by phone.

With the Board’s support, we are now working with colleagues in the NHS to divert all of our resource. We are making available Leuchie House and the brilliant team of very highly skilled colleagues 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.

We are aiming 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.

At this point we know that breaks up until 6 July will unfortunately have to be postponed. Our booking team will be in touch in the coming days with guests who have planned to come over this temporary period of closure. For guests with holidays booked between this time and the 28 September, our bookings team will remain in contact but will confirm in June whether we will be able to provide your break.

These changes will require a significant change in our service and a change in our 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 within a week because we believe whole heartedly that in these extraordinary times this is the best use of the charity’s capabilities.

We will be talking in detail with the staff team on Monday and Tuesday, the principle change will be in operating throughout, with no closed weekend break for the team to re-charge their own batteries.

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 still be significant. We have taken the decision to postpone or cancel all external fundraising activity and events until 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 will be so urgently needed by guests when we return to our normal purpose. We understand this is a challenging time for everyone, but if you’re able to do so at this time, we urge you to consider making a donation to ensure our essential service will still be here for those who need it most.

I hope that you find this update useful. Its purpose is to let the wider family of Leuchie know what we are doing and to ask for any support that you can give. For the team, your skill and commitment to work as flexibly as you have always, to donors, we are facing an unprecedented challenge, to guests, we will be staying in touch with a wide range of online social activities; to all others, we draw great strength from knowing that we are in your thoughts, so please stay in touch.

With very best wishes from all at Leuchie House,

Mark Bevan, CEO

Please also note we have set up a Coronavirus FAQ page which will hopefully answer any concerns regarding bookings.