Guild Care chief executive discusses how to support the charity’s Worthing Cares campaign and brighten Christmas for those spending it alone

It has been a hard, traumatic year. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all, both on individual and community levels.

Of course, Guild Care has been no exception. We have had to make myriad difficult decisions and changes. To name but a few examples, we had to place restrictions on family visits to our care homes, at times shutting their doors completely, and we had to pause our popular Friendship Club, which offered people aged over 70 an environment to make friends, relax and enjoy themselves.

However, thanks to the ingenuity of our staff and the kindness of the Worthing community, there has been light in the darkness. For instance, when our care homes could not receive visitors, digital messages of support were sent to our residents in the hundreds through our Facebook group You’ve Got a Friend in Me. Also, when many of our services for older people had to be closed, our staff set up a new Better Together service to call our members, making sure they had someone to chat to.

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Many of us will see Christmas as a light at the end of the tunnel – something to look forward to during these difficult times. But it is important to remember that Christmas can itself be a difficult time for some. Although many of us have the good fortune to have family to spend the holidays with, albeit with the occasional snipe about raiding the Quality Street tin for the best picks, others will not be so lucky.

Julie Moon says the Christmas hampers are a beacon of light at a really dark time

At a time of year when we should all come together to celebrate the beauty of family and friendship, some members of our community, through no fault of their own, will be alone. This is a problem every Christmas but one that will unfortunately be exacerbated this year by the Covid-19 pandemic.

I am proud to say that the passion and ingenuity of our staff has not dulled as we reach the end of the year. Identifying the particular problem of loneliness during the 2020 holidays, our staff have set up a fundraising campaign to brighten people’s Christmases, Worthing Cares.

Specifically, money raised will be used to purchase and fill hampers for those who use our Help Stay at Home service or attended the Friendship Club. The hampers will be delivered, along with much-needed socially distanced doorstep chats, by a team of more than 70 volunteers who have already rallied around the cause.

Julie Moon, who attended our Friendship Club and will be receiving a hamper, kindly agreed to talk to us about what Worthing Cares will mean to her.

She said: “Without Guild Care, Christmas Day for me this year would be just like any other day, nothing really to look forward to and no one to speak to – just the television for company.

“I know it’s silly but now I know that on Christmas Day this year Guild Care has arranged for someone to visit me to drop off a little gift – well it’s just given me hope. It’s a beacon of light in what has been a really dark time.”

Although we have already kindly received donations from local company ETI and Worthing’s branch of Waitrose, we need the community’s support to help provide as many hampers as possible.

If you would like to help support Worthing Cares by donating, please visit the campaign’s JustGiving page If you have any other queries, please email [email protected]

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