This is a very difficult time for everyone but all Deafblind UK staff feel privileged to work for an organisation that undertakes such vital work helping those with dual sensory loss, the majority of whom are elderly.
Whilst Deafblind UK staff are now working from home where possible, our support workers continue to provide care in the homes of the people who need it most.
People who are deafblind face every single day not only in isolation, but in darkness and silence. They constantly rely on others and are often confined to their own homes. So the increased sense of isolation and loneliness caused by the need to stay at home and social distancing is enormous. I hope that we can all reflect on that as the rest of us find ways to manage with social distancing.
For many people who are deafblind, touch is the only way to communicate and so they simply cannot keep the recommended two meters apart. This leaves people even more vulnerable as they make the choice between their health and their ability to communication.
Unfortunately, we have been forced to suspend our social groups and home befriending services. But we are still able to run our telephone and email befriending services and our helpline. These services have been immensely popular with our members who have no one else to turn to. Therefore, we are urgently looking for more volunteers to call or email our members and give them some comfort and social interaction. I was overwhelmed by the response to our recent social media post asking for help, thank you to everyone who has already registered to volunteer for us.
The Government restrictions have also forced us to close our shop and our conference centre; two of our key revenue streams. We are looking closely at how we can fund our services without this income and we are extremely grateful to everyone who supports us financially or otherwise.
No one can be sure what the future holds right now, but I can assure you that my team and I will do everything that we can to make sure that people who are deafblind are informed, reassured and supported.
CEO Deafblind UK