Moving on from the Covid-19 Firebreak

Once again our Centre is open for oxygen dives and intending to reintroduce Physio sessions in the very near future. All the Centre has been thoroughly cleaned and streamlined to allow us to observe the various Covid-19 protocols we have had to put in place to ensure our Members’ safety. It has been so lovely to see those who have taken the brave step of returning to the Centre and we look forward to welcoming many more in the near future.

Great News – HOPE has re-opened for oxygen therapy but now the Centre is closed again until the 9th November when the new “firebreak” lockdown ends.

After so long, our Centre has re-opened for two mornings a week to deliver oxygen therapy. A lot of work and expense has gone into making the Centre and our oxygen barochamber Covid-19 compliant in order to safeguard our members, volunteers, staff and visitors and we are now working hard to make the visit to the Centre as nice an experience as it can be given the restrictions we have to comply with. We have introduced temperature screening, health questionnaires, sanitiser stations, track and trace qr code, personal protective equipment for all who wish to use it, one way systems to allow for social distancing, face masks and visors, brand new hoses and attachments for the oxygen stations in the barochamber and protocols and procedures to formalise our precautions. It was lovely to see some of our members this week after all this time. We have to thank Lynne Houlston once again for her fundraising which has really helped with the cost of re-opening – read her story below.

If you want to read our Covid-19 operating procedures click here

Brand new hoses and attachments in our socially distanced Barochamber

Lynne Houlston – her story

In 2020 it would be my 50th birthday and in order to celebrate the occasion I decided to raise money for charity. I wanted to do something I had never done before so in January I signed up for the Pembrokeshire Longcourse 10km. I had hardly ‘run’ anywhere since leaving school so this would be a real challenge.

The Charity would be the HOPE MS Therapy Centre in Neyland. My dad had suffered from Multiple Sclerosis and we lost him in 2003 – the year I moved to Pembrokeshire. He was 56 years old.

I started my training in January heading out on to my local lanes at 06.00. I trained through Storms Brendan, Ciara, Dennis and Jorge – dodging fallen branches and huge puddles. Due to issues with the discs in my lower back some mornings I struggled to put my socks on. On other mornings my whole body resented the early workout.

Then suddenly something unprecedented happened; the country was sent in to Lockdown and all sporting events were cancelled. What to do now? I had already raised £300 and had been training for 3 months!

I decided I would still complete a 10km but it would be a local one and I would run it on my actual birthday! So I continued to train; trying to find a circular route which was 10km/6.2 miles long from my front door. The lanes were quiet now and the verges were full of the colour and scent of wild flowers. It was almost a pleasure to run!!

I live near Castlemartin Camp and my route would be passed the entrance to the Camp and along the main road to Castlemartin Village. The soldiers had stayed away for over 6 weeks and the Camp was quiet. Then in mid-May a week before my ‘run’ the soldiers returned and I suddenly found the main road closed for live firing to take place across it. As I work on the Camp I asked if the road would be closed on 28th May – my birthday; yes it would. However, I was told if I ran early in the morning they would allow me to climb over the gates and run along the road before firing started. I wasn’t fast enough to dodge bullets and it was too late to find a new route so I decided I had to change my start time from 10.00 to 07.00am.

The day arrived – sunny and warm! At 06.45 I headed outside to find friends and neighbours ready to wave me off. My husband had drawn a starting line on the road with chalk. Seven o’clock arrived and I was off to a round of applause. For the first 100m my 75 year old neighbour ran alongside me and my 9 year old daughter joined us on her bike. I had a support crew of two neighbours on their electric bikes. They had cycled the route the night before hanging bed sheets on gates with good luck messages on them and writing notes on the road in chalk.  As I dropped down on to the main road towards the Camp six tank transporters drove passed me heading to Pembroke – they looked massive so close up and caused quite a draft but all the drivers gave me a cheery wave! I then arrived at the first locked military gate and climbed over. Suddenly one of the tanks started its engine – I flew along the main road to the second gate. I was very happy to be out of danger!

I arrived home an hour later to a black and white finishing tape and a chequered flag being waved by my daughter! My husband, friends and neighbours were there to cheer and applaud! What a way to start my 50th birthday! It was incredible!

A huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who supported me! Together we raised a massive £1266.17 for HOPE.

Lynne doesn’t let Coronavirus get in her way as she raises money for the HOPE Centre

A few months ago Lynne Houlston got in touch with the HOPE Centre saying that she was going to run the Longcourse 10K and would like to donate her sponsored funds to HOPE . Naturally we were delighted and disappointed when the race was then cancelled due to the lockdown. However, Lynne did not let this stop her and in her own way went on to raise £1266 for the Centre – this money is extremely timely as it is enabling us to make certain changes to the way we deliver the oxygen therapy in order to keep everyone safe when we re-open. Lynne is writing her story about how she achieved this fantastic result which we will share on this site.

Directors brave New Year’s Day swim to raise money for HOPE

HOPE Directors Ken Brombley and Maureen Parry have been awarded collection certificates for sponsor monies raised at the New Year’s Swim in Saundersfoot at the start of the year. This is only part of the money raised and as always we want to thank them both for braving the cold. Seems so long ago now but looking forward to next year’s event already.

Unlocking the Lockdown

Just a few details about the lifting of our current lockdown situation. From the 6th July people will be able to travel again in Wales. Self contained accommodation providers can take bookings from the 13th July. Cafes are starting to provide safe outside seating areas and restrictions on using the Waste & Recycling sites are gradually being lifted. The libraries are launching a new Order & Collect service from the 2nd July, the bus services are increasing the frequency of their services and of course good luck to all children returning to school next week.

Lots of information available from the County Council: www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk

As always we wish you all well – take care.

Carers Week

This week is Carers Week 2020 – lots of information and support for Carers has come out and we are passing on links below to an online course, a report about carers in the current Covid-19 crisis and a series of podcasts by individual carers talking about their own situations. Hope you find these useful.

Hafal Crossroads are commissioned by Hywel Dda University Health Board and Pembrokeshire County Council to deliver Pembrokeshire Carers Information and Support Service.  This provides a range of services and support functions to unpaid carers in Pembrokeshire.  These include Carers Information Packs, Carers Emergency Back-up Scheme, Carers Recognition Card, and a Carers Outreach Service.  The service is available 9am-8pm Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm Saturday & Sunday during the current pandemic. A series of personal podcasts has been produced – click on the link below.

https://www.carersweek.org/images/CW%202020%20Research%20Report%20WEB.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1cNMs5N_UtZf1iUeUq17n0MSkSIbVvq9q0oYxmA-OuqPJVaYxdFRZtC04

Learning for Living – on line course which will help you realise how talented you are as a carer – access the course through the link below.

https://www.carersuk.org/wales/help-and-advice/learning-for-living

Carers Week 2020 – report on the rise in the number of unpaid carers during Covid-19 outbreak produced by the Welsh Government and can be accessed through the link below.

https://gov.wales/guidance-unpaid-carers-coronavirus-covid-19-html