Following the rapidly changing situation in regard to the spread of COVID-19 and to safeguard the families it supports, Charlie House has made the decision to cancel all family activities until July, including its Kielder short break stay in April.

The charity has also made the decision to postpone all Charlie House fundraising events until July 2020. 

Leigh Ryrie, Children & Family Support Manager for Charlie House, says, "We are all very aware of the health implications and danger that this virus poses and that the safety and well-being of the families we support is, and will continue to be, our number one priority. The COVID-19 pandemic is causing increased anxiety for the parents of the families we support. Families can feel isolated at the best of times so this increased need to remain isolated for a longer period of time may have a significant effect on their overall wellbeing."

Leigh continues, "As we have made the decision to no longer have face-to-face contact with the families at this current time, we have plans in place to help those in isolation over the coming weeks which will include virtual support via video calls - both to individuals and groups, sibling support via video messaging which will include virtual bingo, mindfulness and other activities and encouraging the children and young people to interact with their peers. We have created special postal support packages, appropriate for age and medical conditions, which will include sensory items, games, paint by numbers kits and pamper kits for mum to ease their time at home. We will also be introducing virtual coffee and catch ups to replace our bi-monthly face-to-face events we usually have; this will enable families from all over the North-east and Orkney and Shetland to join in."

Leigh concludes, “We are also utilising our private community page to keep in contact with families. We currently support over 100 families so it’s even more important for Charlie House to be there for them at this difficult time but to do that we need to ensure that funding continues.”

Susan Crighton, Director of Fundraising, says, “We are already preparing for the very real and direct impact that COVID-19 is having, and will continue to have, on fundraising and donations for charities globally. With the greater need for support from the Charlie House services team comes the increased need for funding and monetary donations. The decision we have had to make in the past 24hrs will see us suffer substantial losses if we cannot reschedule our events calendar. We need to ensure that people continue to donate, albeit through different means if they have concerns about face-to-face transactions. We are highlighting the options for on-line donations, over the phone transactions and cheques by post. We cannot emphasise enough that local charities such as Charlie House will need increased financial support to continue providing support to local children and families during these challenging times.”

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