Making sure carers are cared for and supported during lockdown has needed creative and innovative solutions, as well as teamwork between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and a range of charities and partners.
Trust Links is a local mental health and wellbeing charity that works with Southend Carers and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to provide counselling and support groups for unpaid carers, currently over the telephone and on Zoom.
John, is one carer who has benefitted from the free online sessions. John said: “I think meditation is beneficial to anybody because it helps you to ground yourself, to step back from the trauma of issues that can be troubling.”
For carers, finding a balance between caring time and time to look after your own wellbeing can be a challenge that leaves many feeling guilty, exhausted and stressed. Now, John understands the importance of self-care alongside caring for a loved one.
He added: "It helps one to live in the present, and keep one’s feet on the ground when the circumstances of the life that we face are very difficult”.
Trust Links has also used funding from the Southend Emergency Fund, to give one carer a tablet and internet access to help them to stay in touch with friends and family during lockdown.
It is one of the many ways organisations have helped Southend-on-Sea Borough Council support the estimated 18,000 unpaid family carers in the borough. They look after family members with dementia, mental illness, physical disabilities and learning disabilities.
The teamwork culminated in a celebration of Carer’s Week at the beginning of June, where carer’s were invited to ‘Care for a Cuppa’ chats on Zoom and young carer’s received gift packs.
There are a raft of organisation who have teamed up to provide help:
· Southend Carers is an independent charity based in the town centre which co-ordinates the support for carers across the borough. Southend Carers provides information, advice, support and counselling for carers, supporting hundreds of carers each year.
· Southend Carers Hub, in conjunction with SPDNS home care, have continued given respite to those with an urgent need. For example, they supported a man who cared for his wife so he could attend hospital for chemotherapy sessions.
· Fair Havens Hospice are providing day time and all night respite.
· Ashley Care provide at-home care when carers have emergency situations, such as being rushed to hospital.
· The Dementia Community Support Team who have adapted their support to offer virtual Carers Peer Support on Tuesday’s and virtual Bereavement Peer Support on Wednesday’s.
Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and social care, said: “Our carers really are the unsung heroes of our society as their actions, which stem from love, have far-reaching benefits.
“While they may feel they are only doing what anyone would do for a loved one who needs help, they are by default helping reduce the demand on the NHS and social care. Especially during the pandemic, when those with long term and chronic illnesses have had to shield.
“Not only are the carers inspiring, but there has been incredible work happening behind the scenes by the charities and organisations to continue to provide a support system for those in care situations.
“There have been innovative solutions and creative ways of making sure carer’s do not feel isolated, lonely or cut off in any way from their usual support systems, including their friends and family during lockdown.”
More information, advice and support from Southend Carers, please visit; www.southendcarers.co.uk.
The Friends of Leigh Library Gardens (FOLLG) have been very busy in the Gardens, but with paintbrushes, not spades.
Working with Southend Parks Department, the Friends turned their skills to the children’s playground adjacent to the Library. The playground is usually very busy and well used and the equipment gets a lot of wear and tear. As the swings, climbing frames and see saw are standing empty and still at the moment during the ongoing restrictions, a much needed fresh coat of paint could be applied.
Painted once more in bright primary colours, the playground is now ready for when it can again welcome children
The Friends have resumed regular structured volunteering sessions from 10am – 12noon on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday and the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month. Anyone wishing to join the Friends of Leigh Library Gardens should make contact by emailing
[email protected] As well as work in the Gardens, there are other roles and tasks to do such as fundraising and publicity: everyone is welcome and no special skills are required.
Follow the Friends of Leigh Library Gardens on Facebook @friendsofleighlibrarygdns to keep updated with developments.
Various buildings and theatres in Southend are set to be illuminated in red lights in a show of solidarity with theatres and the events industry, which has suffered immensely since the Coronavirus pandemic forced the country into lockdown.
The event, organised online at www.lightitinred.co.uk, is a national campaign aimed at lobbying central Government for extra assistance to ensure the events industry can recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. The group is calling for the following:
1. Grants to be made available to businesses in the events supply chain
2. Furlough scheme to be extended until the industry is back to work
3. An extension of the self-employment scheme, tailored towards the industry
Priory Park bandstand, the Civic Centre, the lighting columns on City Beach, as well as both the Cliffs Pavilion and Palace Theatre, will all be illuminated with red lights on Monday 6 July showing solidarity with the campaign, and to highlight the importance theatres and the events industry play in Southend.
Cllr Kevin Robinson, cabinet member for business, culture and tourism, said: “Our town has a rich history of culture, arts and events. We have two fantastic theatres which are both very popular both locally and nationally, and the impact the lockdown has had is a real threat to the sector locally and nationally.
“We are happy to support this campaign which calls for more support to theatres and the events sector as a whole until the industry is back to work. We are very proud of the exceptional talent we have in this town, and by supporting this we hope we are visibly demonstrating that.”
Ellen McPhillips, theatre director for Southend theatres, said: “The live music industry, along with the theatre industry, are finding creative ways to make their voices heard.
“This is a nationwide initiative to draw attention to the plight of the live music industry. Venues up and down the land closed their doors in March with no prospect of re-opening in the near future. Thousands of jobs are at risk and massive economic damage looms if this industry does not survive intact. The goal of this initiative is to press the government to support this billion-pound industry, and to do so quickly. Many venues will not survive the next 100 days if support measures are not announced. Once lost, this industry cannot be easily rebuilt.
“The Cliffs Pavilion and Palace Theatre are part of this industry and are only too happy to add our voice to “Light it in Red”.”
The #LightItInRed action was inspired by #NightofLight in Germany on June 22, which saw over 9,000 buildings, monuments, structures, towers, landmarks, castles, offices, houses, spaces and places illuminated to raise awareness of the industry’s need for government support.
Priory Park bandstand will be lit up by a Southend-based lighting supplier.
As some pubs reopen their doors on Saturday patrons wanting a pint are being urged to be patient as bars adjust to the ‘new normal’.
The Government announced that pubs could reopen on Saturday 4 July, as long as precautionary measures are taken to keep customers safe, such as reducing the number of people allowed inside to account for social distancing.
Premises have also been asked to keep music to a minimum and not show sports, to prevent loud talking, singing and cheering because this can increase the distance saliva droplets travel and increase the chance of spreading Coronavirus.
Cllr Martin Terry, cabinet member for customer contact and community safety, said: “Our pubs will not operate in the way they did before coronavirus and in order to keep people safe we need everyone to understand this and be patient.
“I want to impress on anyone planning to go to the pub this weekend, to be patient with the bar staff, who are learning new ways of working within the guidance issued by Government. The measures put in place inside the bars are for the protection of everyone – customers and staff alike and we need to respect those new rules, even with alcohol in the mix. Please also be respectful to local residents too, many of whom will live close to licensed premises.
“Many of the pubs which are reopening are doing so with a reduced capacity for the number of people allowed inside because of social distancing. Some have decided to amend their opening times and some have decided it is not safe for them to open at all.
“Our licencing team and community safety patrol teams will be working over the weekend with our police colleagues to ensure people are adhering to the rules, to act on reports of concern and make sure everyone is safe.
“I understand the excitement to have a pint poured from the pump but please, use your common sense and follow the rules of the establishment you decide to visit. Please also wash your hands frequently, keep apart from others, and if you have symptoms, stay home, isolate and get tested.”
Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan, lead for local policing in Essex, said: “Everyone from local councils to businesses including shops, pubs and restaurants, have come together to get things moving again across the county. They want to make shopping and socialising safe, and the police will work closely with them to make sure that criminals don’t take advantage of the situation.
“Everyone needs to continue to take responsibility for their own safety when they are out and about, and also look out for the safety of others. Essex was united during lockdown, and we must remain united as we begin our safe return to high streets and businesses across the county.”
You can report any concerns relating to licenced premises in Southend-on-Sea by calling 01702 215000. If it is an emergency, call 999.