The special initiative has been organised by PCI’s Council for Social Witness (CSW), which manages the homes and support units, as CSW Council Secretary, Lindsay Conway, explained, “The past four and a half months have been an exceptionally challenging time for all health and social care providers, who have been on the frontline during this pandemic. We wanted in some way to acknowledge their contribution and indeed everyone who has been affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
“The daily routines of all our residents and tenants has been dramatically changed. Families and friends have been denied a visit and that important hug. Staff have worked to a point of exhaustion and are truly our heroes, while local communities have embraced our work and have given great encouragement and support, which we are so thankful for,” Mr Conway said.
The banner, which will be erected at 14 homes and support units in Bangor, Belfast, Coleraine, Dublin, Dundonald, Garvagh, Greystones in County Wicklow, Newcastle and Omagh reads:
The Covid-19 crisis has been a testing time for us all. We would like to thank our residents, tenants, families and friends for their understanding and patience. A special thank you to our staff who have dedicated themselves to looking after all those in our care – you have been our HEROES. Thanks to all in this community who have been so generous with your gifts and treats – your music, good wishes and prayers. Together we are making a difference.
Since the formation of the Presbyterian Orphan and Children’s society in 1866, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has played a key role in ministering to the physical needs of people, demonstrating Jesus’ love for others, which is a powerful social witness of the gospel. This approach continues overseas, and at home though its homes and support units, and the work of its congregations on the ground across Ireland.
Mr Conway concluded by saying, “This is a simple, but important gesture for us. We are not out of the woods yet by any means and we still need to remain vigilante. In commending every one of our 400-plus members of staff for their care, dedication, commitment and professionalism, which has been above and beyond the call of duty. We are also very grateful to our local communities and businesses for their incredible support. Their encouraging donations and gifts have been so generous, special acts of kindness our staff and residents are incredibly grateful for.”
Photo: Raising a banner of gratitude at PCI's Sunnyside residential home in Bangor, County Down, are home manager Anna McCaffrey and resident Jane Major, with CSW Council Secretary, Lindsay Conway.