Due to the Covid-19 virus, we had to close last March. We adhered to the government guidelines, but being based on the hospital site we also had to abide by their guidelines. We were allowed to help our clients if they contacted us and it was an emergency and we did so, by collecting items together for them, taking them off site and passing them over. By this means, no extra footfall landed on the hospital site other than ours and even then, it was only one of us at any one time.

During this time of being shut, the Hospital Trust kindly granted us a ‘rent holiday’. In June however, we were told that we would have to move on, as the Trust wanted the use of our rooms for themselves, so we started to look for other premises to rent. It was not an easy task, especially as we were still in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and we only had three months in which to move.

We wanted to rent within Stamford for preference, as most of our existing clients come from Stamford or the close surroundings. It took two months to find anything suitable and with time fast running out, we had already started to look in local villages and towns, with good transport connections. Not ideal.

With time slipping away and relevant people not available, due to working from home or taking leave, we started to make a timeline for the move. And we finally found somewhere suitable! We started the big pack.

On October 1st we received the keys.  We had asked Stamford XT if they would come and help paint the new client rooms. They kindly said yes and we provided the equipment, along with some much needed tea, coffee, biscuits and cake. We let them in on that first day and it took two days. It looks splendid!

October 3rd was moving day. We had borrowed the furniture van from SHEP, providing our own driver. We had also borrowed a horse trailer. With five volunteers suitably masked and hand sanitised at the hospital end and five equally masked and hand sanitised at the new premises end, we managed a shuttle service of all our clothes and equipment, whilst keeping within the government guidelines. These sturdy volunteers were the trustees and their partners, friends and for a third day running, some of the Stamford XT. We had started at 09.00 and were finished by 13.00, with more tea, coffee, biscuits and cake at intervals. Due to their fast work, we even managed a sit down lunch at the hospital end, which we provided using the last few chairs before they too were packed into the last van load. Lunch too was provided at the new premises, taken between the van arrivals.

It has taken two weeks of a lot of sorting out, building of racking and placing to get it right for our clients. We have had the help of our longest standing volunteer Abi, who came in with a smile on her face, whatever we threw at her.

What a learning curve this journey has been. We hope to see you all again (by appointment only please) and we will do our best to help you.

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