Dear Supporters 

I thought it appropriate to update you all on the work that we are currently undertaking. I think it is fair to say that for Shekinah, as for us all, the last 6 months have been the most challenging in the 28-year history of the organisation. Whilst many organisations and businesses were able to temporarily shut down, we all know that homelessness and the support people need did not stop. When Covid first hit, we made several immediate decisions to safeguard staff, volunteers and people using services. This resulted in some of our training activity being temporarily suspended and we also moved staff to work with people on an outreach basis, in a number of temporary accommodations units that were secured as part of the Government's “everybody in” programme. In true Shekinah style, I have to say that the staff were amazing and continued offering both face to face and phone support to a large number of people in both Plymouth and Torbay, often in very difficult circumstances.

What did become apparent through this period was that the support people needed was increasing but we found several creative ways to ensure that the support continued. Today all the projects have reopened, albeit with lots of processes in place to ensure we can all remain as safe as possible. Unfortunately, things like volunteering opportunities have decreased as we must limit the number of people we can have in rooms and buildings. Equally many of our planned fundraising events have had to be cancelled in line with the current Government guidelines. This will be a very tough year for us but I am confident that we will come through this a wiser and stronger organisation and continue to deliver support to those people that need us. 

I have been asked a lot about what we will be doing this Christmas, being honest, at this stage it is too early to say. I would be very surprised if we can put on the big meals that we have always done, but rest assured we will find creative ways of providing something to ensure people still feel loved and valued at this time of year. In view of this we are asking that this Christmas, wherever possible, financial donations would be preferable rather than lots of donations of gifts or shoe boxes. This will enable us to then buy gifts in a more controlled manner and reduce any risk of transmission. 

Finally, I would like to thank all of you for your continued support. We have had many phone calls and messages of support and I can tell you all that this means a lot to all the staff, volunteers and people that come to Shekinah. We know it has been difficult and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future but we also know that Shekinah is full of highly committed, skilled and passionate people who will continue to offer support, hope and love. 

Kind regards 

John Hamblin
Chief Executive Shekinah 

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