This year has been one of our most challenging, with March bringing COVID-19, which saw us close the Drop In to complete a full service reconfiguration to allow us to be able to safely reopen.
Thanks to many generous donations, including £15k donated by Severn Trent, we were able to make all the required changes to ensure the safety of our clients and staff. This included personal protective equipment, hand sanitiser and a socially distanced set-up in our Drop In and offices.
On visiting to see the revised service, Liv Garfield said: “Genuinely inspirational. It’s clear to see the team are feeding the souls of their clients as well as their bodies. Really impressed as to how the services have adapted to the COVID world and I’m glad to have been able to help make a difference.”
But just as we celebrated being able to reopen, the rain hit us hard seeing a huge flood take us from Drop In to wash out. Sadly, once again, we closed our doors, and it was all hands on deck for the big clear up. If you missed the original flood footage, you can view it here.
Thanks to our wonderful supporters, many volunteers came to the rescue and donations flooded in to help us fix the damage. We received a huge amount of support from our followers on social media – the video went viral with over 100,000 views – with Jo Lycett raising the roof to help us get a record number of retweets! The donations poured in, helping us raise the funds to put towards vital kit and capital improvements.
With this, we got to work and purchased multiple buckets, mops, towels, blue roll, heaters and dehumidifiers and started the indoor clear up. Meanwhile, outside, Nick Jones from 2G sent in his roofing contractors to assist with emergency remedial works, the Armac group swung by to help shift and remove all our damaged furniture and JLR generously donated new items to help us replace them.
Carly Jones, CEO said: “The last six months have seen us move at pace to secure emergency grants, redesign our services, reopen with challenging restrictions, dry out a flood and, at all times, we’ve managed to ensure our clients had our full support throughout.
“Community spirit is our strength at SIFA Fireside and that has really shone in the way that our staff, volunteers, partners and the public have all pulled together to get us through some really tough times. We can’t thank everyone enough for their ongoing support.”
Since June, we’ve continued to work hard behind the scenes to identify areas of improvement to continue investing - this includes further items of replacement furniture and additional equipment for our clients.
Our capital funding will go towards enhancing the buildings internal and external drainage system, seeing additional pressure taken off the roof to effectively stormproof it. We're also looking to invest in a longer-term plan for guttering and drainage maintenance, ensuring regular flushing and clearing to prevent further flooding.
Our insurers and landlords have also assessed the damage and put a plan in place to fix the leak. We're also excited to update that next week, work will begin on repainting the doors and ceilings, along with replacing the skirting boards, revamping our clinic room and laying a new floor.
We'll be sure to share the updates with you as we go so you can see the work in progress as we get SIFA Fireside back to its best self.
Thank you to everyone that has supported us through this challenging time to make all of this possible; not just for us but most importantly, our clients too.