Update from the CEO The Bridge for Heroes – the charity’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
If there’s one thing the coronavirus crisis is demonstrating it’s the sense of community throughout the country, both in its support to the NHS and those vulnerable in society.
Local groups and the ‘volunteer community’ have been crucial to the emergency response through assisting the front-line, identifying where there is an urgent need, delivering emergency supplies and fundraising.
The Bridge for Heroes has been providing practical support to both the serving and veteran community in the West Norfolk area for a number of years and understand the needs of that community better than most. However like many charities, both our activities and the income that allow us to operate have been disrupted by the crisis and it was quickly identified that in any ‘lockdown’ scenario we would be required to switch from a purely ‘drop-in’ centre to that providing ‘out-reach’ but in a safe and practical way for both volunteers and beneficiaries alike. We have therefore adapted our approach and repurposed our resources so that we can now contribute directly to the relief effort for the most vulnerable, while also maintaining a level of contact and support with those participating in our programmes and benefiting from our services but who don’t require direct ‘out-reach’.
The restructuring of the Centre is almost complete with dedicated teams being stood up, all supplied with the necessary PPE, who can call upon those in need whatever their circumstances, whether for befriending visits or to deliver food parcels and if necessary hot meals. In addition, we have expanded out VTC chat room and Webinars video channel facilities, these services providing daily contact for beneficiaries with both the Centre and each other, in addition to entertainment appropriate to the veteran audience.
We are also looking towards the future to ensure sustainability for the long-term as it looks as it looks highly likely that our recovery from the current situation will be a slow and painful process and the effect on people’s lives particularly in the area of employment will have an adverse impact on their health and well-being. Some will continue to be isolated and many will be anxious about the future.
For those who have stepped up to help us support the vulnerable in such difficult circumstances, we owe you a huge vote of thanks. The reconfiguring of our operation and the building of stocks of PPE and provisions for those who need it has also come with a considerable cost for which the Centre was not configured and we owe grateful thanks to those who have supported us both practically and with donations we are still in need of in order to continue our support to the most vulnerable.
Finally, we continue to look forward to working with all our friends and partners to build on what we have already done to meet the challenges of the pandemic our commitment being to ensure we can maintain a fully sustainable future.