Coronavirus has affected us all and everyone at SIPP wants what is best for our members and staff
A lot has happened since March and we all have been obliged to adapt to a new way of life, some of us have experienced symptoms of the virus or have lost loved ones to it, while others are worried about themselves and their vulnerable friends and relatives. The scientific and government advice has changed as time goes on, the advice that has not changed is do all you can to stay safe. In short stay home as much as you can but you are able to go out to shops, church and see friends. Try to stay outdoors, keep 2 meters/6ft away from others, wash your hands thoroughly and wear a mask when you can.
There is a link to the upto date government information at the bottom of this page
Whats is Covid-19?
We don’t want to cause unnecessary worry or alarm but we have to follow the health experts advice. Coronavirus (also called Covid-19) is a virus that is particularly contagious. It causes fever and coughing and while some people will only be mildly affected it can become serious. Remember most people who catch it will recover well and it may be like having a bad cold but we have seen in recent months how older people can be particularly badly affected.
We want everyone to stay as healthy as possible and so as you know we took the decision to close our drop in centre and stop our social events which we know is hugely disappointing. We hope we can start some of these again soon. We are working to re-open our face to face walk-in advice service in Bermondsey in the near future and will keep you posted.
What has SIPP been doing?
Across south London, we have been keeping our community connected since lockdown in March. We have kept in touch with over 400 older people living in Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham – weekly phone calls, delivering emergency supplies of groceries and medicines, delivering cooked meals to very vulnerable clients, posting out regular newsletters and delivering activity parcels. Our small staff team have been providing a 7 day service whilst working remotely, collecting phone messages daily, offering advice, support and information over the phone and on the doorstep (social distancing visits) and they have even moved clients into supported housing in the midst of the pandemic!
Angela Hartnett and her team supplied us with delicious meals for our more vulnerable pensioners over the past months and we are really grateful for her help and generosity and for the help of the volunteers involved in the weekly deliveries. These meals were a lifeline for some people and gave us time to set up shopping and/or frozen meals services and supply some needed white goods.
We have been so fortunate to have a wonderful team of volunteers, both long term and recent recruits who are giving their time to help us to keep our community connected by regular phone calls.
We try to match people by county of birth but that’s not always possible - even if the county isn’t the same, it’s no barrier to Irish people enjoying a chat with someone from home. Some volunteers are also personal shoppers for some of our pensioners who are shielding and have no family support. As always, our volunteers are the stars of the project – they outnumber the staff team by more than 10 to 1 and we couldn’t manage without them.
The majority of our pensioners do not use the internet so the phone and post are very important in their lives – for social contact, information, entertainment and to reduce isolation. We continue to post out regular newsletters which have included short stories including some from members, latest news, exercises and general chit chat. Everyone is waiting patiently for an announcement to say the day service is open again – we hope it won’t be too long before this happens. We are working to re-open our face to face walk-in advice service in Bermondsey in the near future and will keep you posted.
The generosity of people over the past few months has been amazing and we are so grateful to everyone who has stepped up to lend us a helping hand. Some supporters have achieved some amazing fundraising feats – from former befriender Mairead Quirke running 5k every day for a week to local GAA team Dulwich Harps running 1500km in a week!
What is going to happen?
The truth is we don't know how long the current situation will last. The restrictions have eased but you should still stay alert. Its not easy but try to enjoy life as much as possible. Our team are delivering activity packs and calling for socially distant visits. Some members are meeting others for socially distant walks, which we can give you advice on. We will continue to offer the advice and support we have always provided and continue working to keep our community connected and get our drop in service open as soon as we can. If you know of someone who is not currently known to us but you think they may need some help, please call us or email and give us their details and we will get in touch with them. There is no right or wrong way of dealing with the situation but if find yourself needing to talk to someone, please give us a call.
SIPP can help so please call the office 020 7237 5841. If you are not well dont just leave it, contact your family, doctor or us at SIPP. The staff at SIPP are here to help and offer up top date advice - please phone the office and they will call you back so it will cost you just a few pence.