On the last week before the lock down was officially announced and as the realisation of the reality that the Coronavirus was about to change our lives completely, the team and I were trying to work out what we were going to do, through all the uncertainty. The what ifs and the unanswerable questions heavily outweighing the normal planning of the weekly schedule. As a lot of our services are operated in churches, decisions were being taken out of our hands and buildings were being shut. On the Thursday of that week, we were allowed to use the building in Paisley (where we run our Thursday drop in) to collect phone numbers from those who wanted additional support during this time.
Though us as a team were unsure what was ahead, we had to make sure that we kept our feelings aside to best support those we were supporting. As the Paisley team rallied together, both in the kitchen and in the drop in, the guys who normally came along were telling us what was going on in Paisley and how they were feeling about the situation. While this was happening, one of the guys was said to me “yous urnie gonna leave us hinging?” I answered “what did you say?” while I was processing his words, this time he said “don’t leave us hanging” – as if to translate what he had said a moment before. It wasn’t that I hadn’t heard him or understood what he said, it was more the look on his face, the fear and worry of what was going to happen next. For me I knew that no matter what, I had Ricky by my side, the kids and above all a relationship with Jesus and an assurance that God is in control and will see us through. I made a promise to him that we would do our upmost to continue to offer support during this time.
Almost seven weeks later and I am happy to say we kept our promise. I say we, because it has and always will be a team effort. Not only were there questions around how we would continue our support but also how we would support our staff and even pay them during this time. I have to say that I was massively impressed and humbled by the response of the team in their reaction to this crisis. Many of them willing to cut their hours and still work their full hours. Some even saying that they would take full wage cuts and still do what needs to be done. For me this was amazing. Seeing faith in action! Little money and a huge salary bill due, Ricky acted swiftly and showed great leadership and intuition from the very beginning which is why we did not have to let one staff member go.
Thanks to the amazing response from the team (both staff and volunteers), different funders, individual givers and the generosity of different partners and businesses, I believe we will come out of this stronger. We have had an opportunity to reinvent our work and be creative in the way we support people. We have had funding to hire emergency staff, hire a car and purchase technology for those we support and have stayed connected at this time.
So, to my friend at the drop-in and all the other people we work with week in and week out, we are still committed to sharing the love of God with you and from all of us at Street Connect I promise: we won’t leave you hanging!
This blog post was written by Julie McAddock, Operations Manager at Street Connect.