Activities and Bookings Manager
The coronavirus outbreak has been the most disruptive crisis that Fearon Hall, and the world, has faced for many generations, and the response across Charnwood has been extraordinary. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, communities have sprung into action, neighbours are connecting and looking out for each other more than usual and informal support groups have been organised to support people in need.
Charnwood Community Action based out of John Storer House has led on this vital community response. Many other organisations including Fearon Hall have also stepped up to support the communities we work with. Solidarity is felt across communities towards those who are helping us all and many people have stepped forward as formal volunteers across Charnwood including ‘Students against corona’ who were working from community venues including Fearon Hall. Having and building on this strong community infrastructure and supportive social networks are factors that will help communities withstand and adapt in the aftermath of Covid-19.
In our community of Lemyngton & Hastings we know that many significant issues remain and we at Fearon Hall are committed to providing resources and support, maintaining the critical frontline work to help with recovery of our local community going forward. Fearon Hall had a large reduction of income during the pandemic which eroded our reserves and now we need to adjust to a new way of working, meaning there are some significant challenges ahead in the immediate future and in the longer term.
Throughout the pandemic there was still a demand for our services and although Fearon Hall closed our doors we were still supporting people in crisis throughout lockdown. Dawn made 466 calls to residents of the borough, to ensure they were safe and well throughout lockdown, we also supported many people who turned up at our door needing help. The health, social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic will be with us for a long time to come and Fearon Hall will be working to address these in the coming months.
Community centres across Loughborough including Fearon Hall will continue to support the most at risk in Charnwood. Workers will recognise and acknowledge the impacts of this crisis not just in the immediate future but also as new ones emerge so that we can support those who are affected. To be able to do this we need to ensure that there are adequate and appropriate resources, including PPE to keep everyone safe. There will be challenges ahead so Fearon Hall staff are ensuring that the Hall and the services we offer will be sustainable and safe for the foreseeable future. For the immediate future opening hours will be reduced and there will be additional hand washing and sanitising. Visiting Fearon Hall when we reopen will feel very different, staff will be wearing face shields, some customers will choose to wear face masks, there will be screens around our reception and café areas, and seating will be spaced so that we continue to meet the government guidelines.
Communities have shown and built their resilience over recent weeks, but extra support is needed to support the seldom heard, isolated and excluded individuals and communities. Not everyone can contribute to or benefit equally from neighbourhood action, and those that are already disadvantaged may find it challenging to maintain resilience and participate in social networks in the face of the outbreak, Fearon Hall will be working to address these inequalities going forward. We feel that Fearon Hall is closer to and better at connecting with marginalised groups and will be best placed to implement a community centre approach.
Fearon Hall will be offering a phased return to what was our ‘normal’ pre-covid and we don’t expect ‘normal’ to return for many months. For this reason we will have a phased opening starting with outside activities on the Parish Green during August and bookable activities during September. However we will always be available for our most vulnerable as we have been throughout the lockdown which was imposed upon us by the Covid-19 pandemic.