09 December 2020
Dear Friends & Supporters,
If this time last year, anyone had described what 2020 was going to be like, we would not have believed them. In many ways it has been truly awful, so many losing their lives, the heartache of seeing the elderly stuck in care homes unable to see their families, people being in hospital without their families, lockdown, the effect on the economy, the list can go on and on.
One of the most important things from any disaster in life is how you react and then how you learn from the experience. In March, we were immensely worried about the impact on the charity and about how we could provide support for people. Make no mistake, we have been hit very hard by the pandemic, but we were able to adapt quickly, we were able to offer virtual support to the community and by putting a number of our plans on hold, we were able to more or less ride out the initial storm. I do, however, think that the next six months will be very difficult, we have a long way still to go. Industry experts tell us that after the banking crisis of 2008, it took a decade until the charity sector returned to pre-2008 levels. So, we will have to wait, and hope, and see, and adjust. We have much work to do, together.
But let’s not forget, there have been positives, and we have many to thank…our medics, scientists, people who kept the country ticking over while the rest of us hid away. We should be immensely grateful to each and every one of them, no matter what sector or position they hold. Lessons should be learnt that every member of society can have a positive impact in some way, they just may be different ways.
In 2020, the meaning of the word, “community” expanded and was clearly demonstrated. Clapping for the NHS, creating support bubbles, the national volunteer programme, to name but a few. The pandemic certainly brought out the best in our NF community as witnessed so many times in our support groups and across social media.
We have also learnt that we can adapt, so many now work from home. Here, we have learnt that we can support some of the NF community from afar, in a more efficient manner. We do appreciate that not everyone has access to broadband, although many seem to think everyone does!!
So, yes, we can and must learn to adapt, but adapt to different situations, and to be sensitive to different requirements. As a charity, we are already working on this, and I am so grateful to all of you who have taken the time to send feedback.
As I said earlier, we had to react very quickly to minimise our potential loss, and so put many plans on hold, but as you will have seen over the last couple of weeks, we are slowly moving back on track. We have filled the vacancy in Southampton and announced a new post in Sheffield and I am delighted to welcome Tracey and Clare to the team.
With lessons learnt, let us look forward to 2021, to a hopefully wiser and kinder world. A world in which we can start socialising and mixing again, not just for our own benefit, but to help those who really do need support and for those who provide very vital services.
Thank you so much, for all the fantastic support you have given to the charity in this difficult year, and with my very best wishes to you all for a “Very Happy Christmas”, and an exceptionally wonderful 2021!