Respite care for people aged from 26 to 91 continued to be delivered through the pandemic by an organisation called Revitalise – and its work will go on in part thanks to a £25,000 donation from the Freemasons’ charity the MCF.
With services adapted to cope with Covid, last year Revitalise was able to provide breaks for more than 120 disabled people and their carers from Freemasonry’s RCG6 group, which includes Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Northamptonshire & Hungtingdonshire. The number was much reduced from a ‘normal’ year; in the year before Covid 4,500 breaks were provided for people nationwide.
The charity’s fundraising manager Andrea McCarron said: “The need remains for disabled people and carers in these areas, but it has become much more difficult for them to access a break – this donation will help them to get it.” She explained that successive lockdowns had made it tougher to provide the kind of breaks that would normally be available for those affected by conditions as diverse as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and dementia.
“We’ve had to adapt activities and entertainment to sustain a service in line with government guidelines. We all experienced the isolating and limiting nature of lockdown this year. For many disabled people and their carers this is a constant, lived reality, exacerbated by a lack of care access and resources,” she said.
Revitalise’s 180 employees and 1,200 volunteers provide respite holidays at three centres – Jubilee Lodge at Chigwell in Essex, Netley Waterside House in Southampton, and Sandpipers in Southport. Coping with the pandemic has meant a change to what Revitalise has been able to do.
Said Andrea: “Instead of our regular holiday breaks, we have been providing 24-hour care support with all the necessary facilities, medical equipment, and full-board accommodation.
“Working alongside the NHS to free up hospital beds, our centres in Essex and Southampton have been welcoming hospital patients who still need care and are unable to go home. During this time, our centre in Southport has remained open for disabled people who have been unable to access their usual care support and families in need of emergency respite. We have also utilised our fleet of accessible vehicles to ensure the service is available to anyone that could benefit.
“Support from the Freemasons will bring much-needed respite for disabled people and carers from Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Northamptonshire. Revitalise would like to say a huge thank you to the Freemasons’ charity the MCF for this donation. We are very grateful for it; the effect it enables us to have is perhaps best summed up by one of our visitors, who said: “Revitalise is such a big part of my life. It has enabled me to make lots of friends and I’ve been able to visit many different places, which I wouldn’t usually get the chance to. It has improved my life dramatically.”
Lincolnshire’s Provincial Grand Master Dave Wheeler said: “Being a carer can be extremely demanding, and it can be hard or even impossible to take a day off. The work of Revitalise, supported by the MCF donation, provides a welcome easing of the pressure for people who give so much and ask for very little in return.”