31st March 2020

These are really tough times for an organisation working within tight financial margins.

We always invested every penny we received into expanding our offer and into reaching as many people as we can possible achieve. Closing our day clubs and the vast majority of our Home Support Service means a huge loss of income for the charity. It is hitting us hard.

The Government schemes will help somewhat. We have selected 68 colleagues and all have agreed to be ‘furloughed’ for the foreseeable future. We will (eventually) receive 80% of their pay from HMRC and have taken the decision to pay the remaining 20% from our reserves.

Our colleagues are our greatest assets, invaluable to the success of the organisation and we treat them accordingly. We have further decided that those Home Support workers still working, but not achieving the usual hours due to the diminished service, will receive a top up, too.  All of this is subject to review, but we will keep these payment levels up for as long as we can.

The Senior Management Team meet via Zoom every week and review the ever changing situation together. I do not need to tell you want a capable and extraordinary bunch of people they are. Spirits are good! Morale is high! Ideas and innovation are abundant! We have a lot left in the tank.

However, things will get worse before they get better. I know that many of you undertaking the regular welfare calls are burdened with the anxieties and worries of our service users. It must be an awful, awful time for people with dementia and their family carers, cut off from respite, support and any meaningful activity, feeling lonely and afraid.

Lifeline of support

You, our staff, are their lifeline. You are the few minutes every week they look forward to and which gives them a window to their community.

Your work on the phone is, under the current circumstances, as good as it gets for many people out there. But even you will buckle under this burden – please remember to offload. Talk to colleagues and your line manager, set up WhatsApp groups, call Simply Health counselling line, the Samaritans…and if you have other good tips, please let me know. (I use an online guided meditation site from time to time…and wine at other times…and gin when nothing else works!).

To our donors

Those of you who have supported this wonderful charity over the years – we thank you!

But we need you now more than ever. We have never needed regular givers more than we do right now. Donations are easily made on our website and cheques can still be sent to our office. Every little really, really helps if we want our charity to weather this storm.

If you want to help but can’t get out there – here is where you can do your bit: support our fantastic colleagues reaching out to the most vulnerable in our communities.

Over the coming weeks we will keep you all updated about what those announcements you hear on TV mean for Alzheimer’s Support and your local communities, and you will continue to find the latest NHS and government guidance in our newsletters and our website.

Remember, we are here for you!

Babs HarrisBabs Harris

CEO, Alzheimer's Support