May 2020 CEO Statement - Cherry Trees During Coronavirus. CEO Statement On 11th March 2020 the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. No one could have predicted how quickly this virus would impact the entire world and at the speed that it did. The majority of schools and business promptly closed, and the strict social distancing measures meant that we were no longer able to see friends and family unless it was via a video call. The changes and impact on people’s lives has been phenomenal. For the majority, COVID-19 has meant home schooling, staying inside, only leaving for essential food shops and either not working, or working from home. However, throughout this pandemic there has been a critical workforce that were unable to work from home. This workforce has worked selflessly to continue their work as normal to keep people safe and to keep services running so we can survive and beat this global pandemic. We have always known how integral our carers are, however on 19th March the government confirmed that Care workers were to be deemed an ‘essential’ and have a ‘vital’ role in the governments COVID-19 response. I know that there are no words that could ever completely describe how difficult it has been to be a keyworker during this highly anxious time. To enable our vulnerable, fragile children and families to be as least impacted by COVID-19 as possible, our carers have made so many sacrifices over these last 10 weeks. They have continued to put the charity first, put aside their anxieties to enable us to provide meaningful, quality care and supported your colleagues through the most difficult time I think we will ever experience in our lifetimes. Thank you team for going the extra mile to make sure the children and families that rely on us are supported. Thank you for making the difficult decisions that enabled you to continue working. Thank you for taking on extra shifts and duties to cover for those who needed to self-isolate or were deemed vulnerable. Thank you for abiding to the government’s rules to enable you to remain healthy and continue working. Several times a week I hear from parents and professionals telling me just how much it means that Cherry Trees remained open and continued to support those in significant need during this pandemic. I am proud that I have a dedicated and passionate staff team that worked together to enable our charity to remain open and am incredibly relieved to be able to share that we ensured that none of our families reached crisis during this period, the children we support were kept safe and continued to have positive, fun experiences. We are now 10 weeks on and thankfully the government has advised that we are passed the ‘Peak’ of the virus; things are slowly starting to move back towards ‘normal’. We will continue to be proactive in ensuring we are compliant with government guidance, policy is translated into consistent safe practice and we take all of the measures we can to limit the risk of transmission to ensure we can provide our families with a meaningful break , help our children to understand the uncertainties that COVID-19 brings whilst offering them a degree of normality. Over the next few weeks we will work in close partnership with our education, social care and health colleagues to implement additional measures to enable us to safely increase our capacity when the time is right, and only when the time is right. Thank you to the community that has helped us to overcome so many hurdles over the past 10 weeks; from food deliveries to PPE supplies, to virtual fundraisers. We wouldn’t have been able to support so many of our families, many of whom are keyworkers, without our amazing community of supporters. Thank you to our families; for being so flexible, for the kind words of appreciation you have shared with the staff team and for remaining strong for your children, I know that the last few weeks would has been an indescribable challenge for you. Due to our strong local community and our dedicated and committed workforce of staff and volunteers, we will remain a strong and resilient charity. We will work with our community of supporters to look at dynamic ways of fundraising to make up for the significant shortfall created by so many fundraising events and challenges being cancelled. We will work hard to ensure we remain a vital lifeline to our families and other families that are in need of specialist respite. Claire Bryant CEO Published Wednesday 27th May 2020, 12:57 CHERRY TREES COVID-19 POLICY For those that would like to read our charities' most recent COVID-19 policy, you can READ MORE HERE.