Those who follow these articles will know that we have been closed since 16th March in line with Government guidelines to keep our members and volunteers safe from Covid-19. Our manager, Jules, retired on 1st May, which was already planned, and we interviewed and appointed a new manager. We were and are still unable to hire the building and all our main fund raising events have been cancelled which obviously has a very worrying impact on our financial position particularly as, during our period of enforced closure, we have faced significant ongoing fixed and general maintenance costs. For this reason The Board of Trustees decided to furlough our remaining staff. We have been very grateful for the support the government have given us to enable them to remain in post. Under Charity Commission Rules the Trustees have a legal obligation to ensure that our finances are maintained in good order.
The Trustees have been contacting our regular members and our volunteers over the months to ensure they have been able to receive food and guided them where to seek help for any problems that may have developed. Our volunteers have also been supporting each other. Sadly we have lost several members and one volunteer but thankfully none to Covid-19.
In July, when we felt it was safe following a risk assessment, we opened for Hairdresser and Foot Clinic sessions. A lot of measures have been put in place to ensure The Clockhouse is Covid-19 safe. Despite the majority of our volunteers being over 70 and many in their 80s and 90s they were very keen to help in any way to support us and a rota was set up for them to man these sessions which have enabled people to attend a safe environment to have their long awaited haircuts and foot treatments for which they have been so grateful.
Following further risk assessments we decided to open a Pop up Café and Charity Shop on Wednesdays starting on 12th August. The café is run by Elvina, our activities co-ordinator whom we have un furloughed for one day a week, and several volunteers. Our charity shop is run by 4 volunteers who have worked tirelessly to sort out, clean and sell donations.
Over the last 5 weeks the café and shop have gradually welcomed more and more of our members and volunteers. It has been such a joy to see so many of them venturing out and enjoying face to face meetings with their friends. None of this could have happened without the help of our many volunteers who donate their time to support The Clockhouse.
The Board of Trustees is holding a planning meeting on 24th September when we will discuss plans to reopen The Clockhouse, probably for 2 or 3 days a week initially. As the furlough support stops at the end of October we need to be mindful of the costs and try to be innovative in ways to raise funds. Naturally we need to keep everyone safe so the actual running of the Centre will be different, whilst the virus is still circulating, but hopefully in time The Clockhouse will be open as before. At present we have decided that it is not safe or economically sound to use the minibuses so we need to rely on volunteers, carers and family members to transport people to The Clockhouse. If you know anyone who may be able to volunteer some time to either help with transport or at The Clockhouse please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01483 420668. Hopefully we will be able to use the minibuses again soon.
Please visit www.clockhouse.org.uk or phone 01483 420668 between 9.30am and 11.30am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings when the phone is manned by one of our volunteers if you have any queries. Phone messages are reviewed on a regular basis.