As part of our involvement in #GivingTuesdayNow, we wanted to spotlight local charities and community groups during these uncertain times caused by COVID-19. We wanted to highlight the fantastic things they are doing and let you know how you can help them right now.
In the third blog of our spotlight series, we caught up with Liz Rickaby, Chief Executive at Enrych. Liz talks about how they have adapted their services to offer more remote support and online activities. They are experiencing an increased demand for their services due to the heightened anxiety and stress from COVID-19, despite a decrease in income.
1. What does your charity do?
“Our objective is to reduce isolation and loneliness for adults living with a disability. We support individuals to achieve their personal, social goals, helping them to retain their independence at home, engage with their communities and improve their well-being.”
2. Are you still providing all of your services? Have you had to adapt any?
“We are still providing all of our services but have had to adapt to ensure we meet the needs of everyone – some people are still being visited at home because the impact of them being alone puts them at greater risk but we have also adapted our services to ensure no-one is at increased risk at this time. This often means we are providing more regular support to keep in contact and monitor individual needs.
We do a lot of remote support (phone calls, skype, zoom, face timing) as well as online activities such as quizzes, cookery classes etc. We are also helping individuals to keep in touch with family and friends, supplying IT equipment and supporting individuals and their families to get on line. Some people are being supported to undertake their daily exercise sessions or, where we might usually have taken them to do their shopping, we are doing shopping on their behalf.”
3. What have been the main challenges from the impact of COVID-19?
“The impact of individuals not being able to participate in their normal activities and supporting them to adapt has been a challenge. Sport activity, community groups etc are no longer happening so we have had to support them to adjust. For many not being able to get out and engage with friends has had a significant impact on their well-being and mental health.
Many individuals are experiencing heightened anxiety levels, needing more regular contact and we are seeing an increase in mental ill health – we have concerns about the longer term effects of the COVID 19 measures. Some individuals with learning disabilities are finding it difficult to understand the new regulations and need additional support for this.
The biggest challenge for us is funding – when the need for our services is increasing, our income has reduced. Our concern is the longer term impact COVID 19 will have on well-being, confidence levels and individuals appetite to re-engage with community activity to avoid ongoing isolation and increase feelings of loneliness.”
4. Are you currently fundraising or holding virtual events/activities?
“We are trying to fundraise through trusts, foundations and government initiatives but not virtual events (although we are registered for the 2.6 challenge). Our virtual activities are aimed at providing support for those we serve.”
5. Do you have any tips for charities who are struggling with the pressures of COVID-19?
“Put those that you serve at the heart of your plans; adapt services to their needs within guidelines. Work in partnership with other organisations to ensure individual support needs are met.
It is also important to focus on transition out of the impact measures – long term sustainability is vital to ensure individuals are supported through the crisis caused by COVID 19, but equally services are going to be vital for them at the end of the crisis.”
6. How can the public help you right now?
“By supporting local charities and initiatives, both practically and financially. There are a lot of national initiatives to help charities but our experience suggests these are not filtering down to smaller community based services who need help now to ensure they can deliver vital services now and be sustainable for those that need support at the end of the pandemic crisis.”
About BHIB Charities Insurance
BHIB Charities Insurance specialise in providing tailored cover for community groups, clubs, societies, voluntary organisations and hobby or special interest groups. We offer more than just insurance and we are passionate about supporting local communities.
Any views or opinions expressed above are for guidance only and are expressed in generic terms. They are not intended as a substitute for readers taking appropriate professional advice relevant to individual circumstances. We would always encourage readers to seek professional advice.