*** Statement from Cherry Trees CEO Claire Bryant on the charity's decision to remain open, 1st April 2020. ***

I want to reassure you that we’re doing everything we can to support the well-being of our extended Cherry Trees family which includes the children that stay with us, their families and our staff and volunteers.

Cherry Trees supports 120 of the 'most vulnerable’ children in Surrey and surrounding areas. We are named as an essential support measure in each of our children’s Child Protection, Child in Need or Looked After Child plans. We know that we are a lifeline to many families and play a crucial role in preventing family breakdown.  Cherry Trees has always been a service in high demand, and we anticipate that this will only be exacerbated in the current climate, yesterday the government advised that ‘in the coming period there will be more need for care services’.

In line with government advice and with the support of the local authority, Cherry Trees is striving to keep providing our families with the support they need. Just as some schools need to stay open to support vulnerable children or their key worker parents, our decision to remain open ensures that we can give crucial care to the most vulnerable children and families at a time when the world is confusing and uncertain for both them and all of us.  As long as we have safe staffing levels, we will continue to help as many families as we can and provide a safe, stable, caring and fun environment for our children.

Surrey County Council have recently stated;  ‘We support Cherry Trees' approach to stay open for children (during the COVID-19 situation) and appreciate the measures you have taken to continue this’.

We also have a duty of care to keep our staff and children as safe as possible, as a result we are updating our COVID-19 policy regularly in line with government guidance and local authority approval to ensure that we are taking as many measures as we can to reduce the risk of transmission.  

Cherry Trees has implemented additional measures and policies regarding;

  • Providing advice to staff and families about when to stay at home.
  • Taking staff and children’s temperatures upon arrival.
  • Allowing only essential visitors into Cherry Trees.
  • Prioritising care to reduce daily numbers in the home.
  • Increased cleaning, handwashing and disinfection routines.
  • Adopting social distancing wherever possible with new social routines, utilising space in rooms and strategically spreading activities across our facilities to help everyone stay safer.
  • Informing parents/carers and transport services that they must adhere to social distancing rules outside of Cherry Trees.
  • Supporting our vulnerable staff or those that need to self-isolate with full pay.

As a charity, we are resilient. We have a dedicated and highly professional board of Trustees, a committed community of supporters, local authorities that value and support our professional service and an experienced and committed staff team. In the 40 years we have been providing exceptional specialist care, we have overcome many challenges and we believe that with the support of our wider community we will overcome this one too.

I can’t thank my inspirational staff team, volunteers and our supporters enough.

Together we will continue to make a real difference to children with disabilities, and their families lives.

Claire Bryant

CEO, Cherry Trees