The Canterbury Care Centre has re-opened : Lockdown and Our Road to Opening Again
The Canterbury Care Centre has re-opened following our closure due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. On March 21st we shut the doors at Church House for what we expected to be just a few short weeks. Little did we know that it would be four months before we could re-open.
During the lockdown our Centre Co-ordinator Katherine and Assistant Co-ordinator Elaine were kept very busy though. We knew how much of an effect the lockdown on the mental health of our members, so each week we were phoning twice to ensure they were keeping safe and in good spirits. Katherine would also be in contact with Guildford Borough Council, or other authorities, if we believed members needed assistance. This included arranging food parcels or for their prescriptions to be collected. Katherine and Elaine were also in direct contatc with members over Whatsapp and text messaging, sending and receiving over 40 messages per day.
We also started the "Canterbury Coronavirus Challenge", where each day on social media we would post fun quizzes and activities for people to interact with. We are very pleased to say these went down very well! We would also post something more lighthearted, and our Instagram following amazingly increased by over 1000 from all over the country.
As the lockdown eased, Katherine and Elaine started running group and one to one meetings in the Guildford Castle Grounds. This was in a safe environment and provided much needed social contact for people that needed it.
Finally there was light at the end of the tunnel when the Government announced that Community Centres could re-open from July 4th. However it was not that simple. Church House, our home for 39 years, is Church Property and did not fall under the Government Guidance. It became clear that we would need to find a temporary new home.
Thankfully we've got some fantastic connections. Firstly Jane Lyons and Brian Matthews at The Keep offered us the use of the pub whilst they are closed in the afternoons. This gave us a central Guildford location on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for up to 8 members. Secondly, our volunteer Ann put us in touch with the Cranleigh and District Lions & Lion Tamers, who very kindly offered us the use of several large marquees. We've also got the use of several large fields at a location in Effingham, so we decided this would be our Monday slot for up to 30 members with social distancing.
Next up was a mountain of paperwork, form-filling and poster making.
Saturday 1st of August saw several industrious volunteers come and help put the marquees up, and the finishing touches were complete.
We are so relieved to be open again because we know how hard the lockdown has been on everyone. We are one of the only drop-in centres to re-open in Surrey,and we could not have done this without the supporters we've got.
Of course we cannot wait to be back in Church House once it is safe to do so.
Updated 10th August 2020