Supporting our Professions in 2020
Wesleyan responds to the pandemic
As with so much in life, things were different in 2020 because of the pandemic. We decided to temporarily pause our regular Foundation grants programme from March to July as there was continued uncertainty over how organisations could deliver their services in the usual way.
We redirected our attention to how we could support our customers, many of whom were dealing first-hand with the impact of the pandemic. The Foundation donated over £100,000 to support the medical, dental, education and legal sectors with a focus on charities and organisations providing mental health and wellbeing support.
An additional £10,000 was made available to support local groups in the West Midlands that were providing services like food banks, emergency food and medicine deliveries and outreach. And we also donated over £743,000 to charities and community groups in need of support during this challenging time.
Here is a small selection of some of work the Foundation supported last year.
Supporting NHS staff wellbeing
From conversations with our Advisory Boards and customers, it quickly became clear that managing the fall-out from Covid-19 would create mental health issues for some of our medical customers and their colleagues. We therefore put in place a series of measures to provide support including launching our own Wellbeing hub.
We also provided funding from the Foundation to other organisations to help them ramp up their work in this space. This included a £45,000 donation to NHS Practitioner Health to expand their mental health support service to the full range of NHS workers in addition to medical and dental staff.
A network of professionally facilitated online group support meetings were put in place to provide a safe and supportive space to share experiences and concerns helping to reduce feelings of isolation and create better mental health outcomes.
Professor Dame Clare Gerada, Medical Director of Practitioner Health said:” We know from previous epidemics (fortunately pandemics are rare) that health care staff suffer from more mental health problems – in particular, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress symptoms. We are grateful for the funding from the Wesleyan Foundation that has helped us to support wellbeing and a sense of increased support and community.”
Over 600 online groups and events took place over a ten-month period covering almost 15,000 staff.
St Chad’s School
We continued to support St Chad’s in 2020, a school close to our Birmingham Head Office that benefitted from a previous donation made by the Wesleyan Foundation.
While we weren’t able to visit the school for much of the year, the pupils and staff remained very much in our thoughts. With most of the pupils coming from low income families, the pandemic exacerbated existing challenges.
Support given over the year included colleagues creating and selling a charity cookbook, sharing recipes from around the world, which raised over £1,000. The Foundation also gave a donation for the children to receive a special visit from a virtual Christmas Elf and every child received a book appropriate to their reading level as a gift.
Mrs Parker, Acting Headteacher told us: “We are using some of the donated money to support all our families with an extra foodbank. We’re keeping some for a special celebration for the children when we are through this difficult time, maybe a coach trip to Weston. Thank you to everyone at Wesleyan for keeping us in your thoughts.”
Supporting Business in the Community
When Business in the Community launched its National Business Response Network we knew we needed to get involved. The Network set up to respond to the increased critical health and social issues in towns and cities across the UK, matched communities in need with businesses that could help during the pandemic and beyond getting urgent resources to communities that need them most.
We were acutely aware of the pressure schools and teachers faced during the first lockdown and the impact this was having on the learning of some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the country. The Network enabled us to provide targeted, practical support and we were delighted to see the difference our donation of £5,700 made to both teachers and pupils with much of the money going to support educational resources.