We recently hosted a group discussion with representatives from churches across the UK on "Churches Supporting Care Homes during COVID 19".
It was really inspiring hearing what different churches have been up to, as well as exploring potential routes ahead.
A church in Mirfield has launched two new initiatives since we last caught up on their Care Home Friends project. Under "Boxes of Hope", every other month, they are delivering a box containing a few treats. One box had a packet of biscuits and sachet of hot chocolate, and the latest had a sunflower growing kit for that resident’s windowsill. Children from the church (aged 5-14) have been buddied up with an individual care home resident so that the box comes addressed from that child rather than the church. Several residents have sent thank you letters in reply so this has also built into a penpal system. There is a real sense of connection, both for the children and the residents, even though it is all done at a distance, especially with the sunflowers as there can be ongoing conversation as they continue to bloom, and can be seen through windows, on the window sills.
With residents limited to a single visitor, the care home has also agreed that people from the church can offer to sit outside with family members while another family member is visiting a resident. This gesture of support and offer of a friendly ear has been gratefully received by relatives.
Churches have also been assisting care homes to play live, or recorded, church services for the residents. One vicar includes a "hello to everyone watching at" the name of the local care home in every service as he knows the residents will be watching the YouTube recording and this helps them feel more connected.
Other churches have been busy organising cards, letters, gift bags and other treats at various times throughout the year to show gestures of kindness to care home staff and residents.
If your church is doing anything with your local care home, please leave a comment below or email us. It would be wonderful to hear your stories and you may inspire others to try a similar idea.
If you're interested in supporting your local care home, here are some links you may find useful: