by Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
Last week, the Welsh government’s Voluntary Services Emergency Fund granted £138,000 (approximately € 151,000 or $175,000) to the Archdiocese of Cardiff. It is destined to be used to support the Archdiocese’s ‘Staying Together While Apart’ Project.
Providing for those in self-isolation
Those who will benefit from the ‘Staying Together While Apart’ initiative are the most vulnerable people in self-isolation in southern Wales due to the coronavirus pandemic. The program will run for six months. Food, care packages and prescriptions will be delivered.
Providing for body and mind
In addition to delivering these basic amenities, part of the project will also address the mental health aspects of lockdown.
Project manager Klavdija Erzen said, “We’re aiming to improve the mental health and wellbeing of older and vulnerable adults, as well as reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, providing care to those suffering psychological distress, and fostering a sense of belonging and community. We intend to use Zoom, Skype, live streaming, and YouTube podcasts along with the more traditional phone calls, letters, and even postcards to combat isolation and communicate messages of support to those in need.”
The Project aims at personalizing the services it offers to the real needs of people. Those seeking assistance have been encouraged to tell their story and describe how they need assistance using a survey created for this purpose.
Cardiff – a 'Diocesan family'
Cardiff’s Archbishop, George Stack, calls his diocese a “diocesan family”. As such, it is a network of individuals in organizations who are the area’s “first responders during a crisis.” With the lockdown, many who relied on this network were left without knowing where else to turn. Archbishop Stack sees this grant as an opportunity “to expand the good work already taking place across the Archdiocese serving the wider community at this difficult time.”
A statement issued on behalf of the national membership body for voluntary organisations in Wales noted how vital the ‘Staying Together While Apart’ project is in “ensuring that those who need to self-isolate are able to.”
About the Archdiocese
The Archdiocese of Cardiff encompasses southeastern Wales as well as the English region of Herefordshire. Churches were reopened for public worship on 10 July. Christianity dates back to this area, also known as the “Welsh Province,” to the third century.