From the desk of Mike Williams: An update from our General Manager

By Anglican Family Care | Posted: Friday May 8, 2020

I hope the very slight relaxing of restrictions over the past fortnight has allowed some of you to branch out a little further from your homes. Perhaps a walk on the beach or at a park, reconnections with family or someone close to you as you expand your respective bubbles to include other essential people in your lives. It is reassuring to think that we may be entering Alert Level 2 very soon and at Anglican Family Care we are already in the advanced stages of making plans to ensure we have a safe transition back to our offices in Dunedin, Oamaru, Balclutha, Alexandra and Wanaka. Much still depends on the announcement of the Government on Monday 11 May and the safety measures required to undertake work such as ours safely.

Planning and preparedness have therefore been the buzzwords, taking up much of the intellectual capacity of our leadership team. Practical steps to minimise the risk of passing on the COVID-19 virus in the workplace are considered and very necessary. As we prepare for this next stage good hygiene, screening and safe distancing will be essential, and a normal part of operations for some time to come. We are unsure in what capacity we will be able to resume face to face contact with whānau as we must have good guidance on factors such as appropriate proximity and duration of visits, whether or not PPE must be used- there is still much we do not know.

We are hearing stories of worry and apprehension beginning to emerge from the various communities we serve. There will be many people who will be accessing support from the various government and social sector agencies for the first time- an anxious and uncertain time. This will undoubtedly create an additional challenge and new pressures for those in the sector as we respond, but we will be working collaboratively to ensure that wherever possible the need can be met. Right now, we need to ensure our communities are supported and have access to the help they need to survive and get them through the as yet unseen social impact and problems that have been, to date, insulated by the lockdown.

So a tough balance to get right. We desperately want to be able to resume our service delivery, to meet the need as it emerges- but not at any cost. The health, safety and wellbeing of our people is a primary consideration. It will be challenging as we begin returning to something resembling our pre-lockdown routines. Normal will definitely be slightly different, certainly initially. We will also need to make sure we take the time to listen to the reflections of our people as we debrief and start to plan ahead. We must not miss the opportunity to take on board valuable personal and professional learnings from an event that has so profoundly and materially affected all of us in different ways.

Finally, we consider ourselves fortunate to have government contracts in place which provide a level of security for us as we plan our way forward. Despite this, a global pandemic comes at a human and financial cost and we remain focused on closing our own funding gap. Upcoming fundraising events and some grant rounds have been put on hold, which means that now more than ever we are very grateful for the ongoing support of our individual donors and stakeholders– I must offer a sincere and heartfelt thank you to each of you. You are helping us make a difference.

Stay safe, and stay well.

Ngā mihi nui