A note from Jon Haward, CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities UK
“As we are all experiencing, the coronavirus crisis continues to impact us in ways we could not have predicted. Certainly, I know that I and my colleagues have had to learn and deliver fast against the daily challenges we have faced. We continue to work extremely closely with our NHS partners to ensure we are providing the best environment we can, to look after families whose children are sick and in hospital.
This June, I am pleased to report that we felt that we had robust processes in place in our larger Houses to start admitting new families to stay with us. We remain cautious and careful, always with the goal of keeping families and staff safe at all times.
In July, I am delighted to say that we now have 100 new families staying with us. We have also started to allow Day Pass families into Houses, which means they can use our facilities and get rest away from the intensity of the wards. In most locations, with hospital permission, we are now allowing families to visit their home for short periods, where possible, as long as their home is outside any lockdown area.
As you may be aware, some areas of the country with high numbers of coronavirus cases are now being put into local lockdowns. We are closely monitoring the local lockdown situations as they develop to avoid any impact to our service in our Houses across the UK. The health, safety and wellbeing of our families and staff remain our priority.
While the majority of our Houses are open, we continue to keep the smaller Houses closed. The NHS Trust in Tooting and NHS Lothian in Edinburgh continue to use those Houses to accommodation their medical staff who cannot go home after shift. While not ideal, we are happy to be in a position to help our NHS partners and we will always support their amazing work in any way we can.
Whilst we look to the future with hope, we cannot shy away from the fact that we have a lot of lost income to make up. To help us do that we brought back a small number of employees from June 1 and again during July. The majority, however, continue to remain on the Government’s Job Retention Scheme until we are in a position to provide them with meaningful work in their roles.
Equally, you are also key to our survival. We estimate that we will have lost nearly 50% of our planned income, as a direct result of COVID-19 this year. It has impacted on every element of our fundraising, including our events as well as losing a major source of income from McDonald’s Customers.
We know that your own circumstances may be under pressure, and all we can do is ask that you think of us often and consider taking on a challenge on our behalf to raise funds, or simply set up a regular donation to support us. Every penny does make a difference to our ability to keep doing what we do best, supporting families when they need us most.