Over the last nine months, the SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken hold on countries around the world. Our hearts go out to all of the families who have been affected by this terrible virus.
The word ‘unprecedented’ has been used a lot in 2020, and we at SicKids are certainly feeling it! As we head into Autumn, and the prospect of ongoing disruption through 2021 and beyond, we wanted to update you on the impact of the pandemic on our charity and projects.
Last winter we agreed to co-fund the installation of two of our fabulous Sensory Spaces in Emergency Departments in hospitals in the North West of England. We were in the process of sorting out the delivery and installation arrangements when COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. You’ll be aware of the colossal impact of the virus on our NHS, which has included the need for Emergency Departments to be rapidly re-designed. Visiting hospitals is now subject to significant restrictions and the need for Emergency Departments to provide COVID-19 safe facilities has had to be prioritised over the installation of new equipment (such as in a SicKids Sensory Space). There are enhanced infection control measures to think about in relation to Sensory Spaces in Emergency Departments and it is going to take us some time to work through these with the organisations we’ve agreed to partner with.
While we’ve had to delay the launch of these new facilities, all is not lost! The funding is ring fenced and as soon as we’re able to press ahead, we’ll be ensuring the sensory equipment we have agreed to supply gets to the children and young people who need it as quickly as we can.
Earlier this year, due to travel restrictions, it was necessary to postpone one of Andrew’s regular visits to support outreach work in Cambodia. Regrettably, it’s also now necessary for us to delay a trip that we planned for November. Our intention was to fund our seventh grant recipient, a health care professional, to travel to Cambodia to gain valuable professional and personal development, while providing care to disadvantaged children and young people. We don’t expect to see an easing of travel restrictions in the near future; nor do we believe it would be appropriate to offer funds to a key worker at a time when there’s so much demand on our NHS.
We also agreed a donation of £1000 to a fabulous organisation working with disabled children in the north of Cambodia. This will be our fifth Sensory Space in Cambodia. While Cambodia’s stringent COVID-19 related entry requirements make it even more difficult than normal to get equipment into the country, we’ve agreed that we’ll work with the organisation as quickly as the current circumstances allow.
It’s also worth noting that three of our four Trustees – Andrew, Dianne and Jenny – are employed by the NHS, while Den is a senior leader within a hospitality and tourism business – one of many industries that have been decimated by the pandemic. It’s fair to say that we’ve had considerably less time this year to focus on our voluntary charity work!
Finally, we believe it’s important that we reassure you – our amazing supporters – that SicKids is stable. We remain dedicated to protect the wellbeing of children and young people in the North West of England and Cambodia, and our funds are all protected. As soon as it’s safe and practical to do so, we’ll begin making progress with our brilliant projects again.
A heartfelt thanks to you for your continued support. We really appreciate it! More than ever before, as the pandemic develops, and we begin to come to terms with a new normal, there will be a need for renewed focuses on the provision of health care services around the world, and we’ll be here to play our part.
Andrew, Jenny, Dianne and Den
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