Responding to Covid-19 by Chief Executive Lisa Wimborne

Lisa Wimborne.jpg

We provide independent living for people with physical disabilities or visual impairment. Our tenants live in their own self-contained apartments. Some work, others are reliant on carers for support. The majority have underlying health conditions.

Just a few weeks ago all our attention was focused on the purchase of our eighth development and the launch of our fundraising campaign to support this. Ordinarily this would be a time of celebration, however these are not ordinary times and now, we are 100% focused on doing all we can to protect and support our 360 tenants whilst considering the impact of social isolation and general increased levels of anxiety that many are feeling.

It was with a heavy heart that we wrote to our volunteers earlier in the week to request they no longer come into our buildings, we have cancelled our wonderful Seder events and are restricting our communal areas to tenants only. Some of our tenants are deciding for their own health and safety to self-isolate. They need food and will no doubt need contact with the outside world.

We are working hard to set up support systems calling on our current network of volunteers whilst also reaching out to the wider community. We will need support with shopping for tenants who are self-isolating and who don’t have family support and with much needed telephone or online befriending to ensure our tenants don’t feel totally cut off from the world around them.

We will do all we can for our tenants. They have the peace of mind of 24/7 onsite support from our amazing house managers. It is those we haven’t managed to help to date I worry for. We have received a number of calls this week from members of the community who are living in unsuitable accommodation and struggling alone. We have a few apartments that have become available in the last few weeks, the challenge with a reduced staff team is turning them around so that we can support people to move into them as quickly as possible. However, we don’t have enough to meet the need. There are members of our community who need us more now than ever before.

These are not ordinary times but my silver lining is we are not an ordinary community. We are an amazing community with communal networks others can only wish for. Communal organisations are working together to do all they can, Chief Executives supporting each other through these challenging times. I have no doubt that our request for volunteers will be met and our valued supporters will do what they can to continue to support us, even in these times of uncertainty.

To find out more about how you can help contact our volunteers team at volunteers@jbd.org