Coronavirus Pandemic Update - 19 March 2020
The Salvation Army
United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland
· NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER: Please light a candle of hope and join with The Salvation Army and other Christian churches across the territory in a National Day of Prayer on Sunday 22 March. With worship meetings and services cancelled across the country, we are inviting people to support this initiative organised by church leaders in the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom
· Please pray for all the victims of the virus and their families. We have heard that Major Sandra Carreño , an officer in the Spain and Portugal Command, is seriously ill with the virus. Please pray for Sandra and her husband, Santiago. Please pray for all children and their parents around the world affected by the closure of schools and uncertainty about exams and future education opportunities.
· IT’S SERIOUS: Please follow and take seriously the advice and directions from your government regarding the Coronavirus. We need to cooperate for our health but also to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.
· FOOD BANKS: Additional advice for food banks on how to manage donations will be posted on Our Hub and the website in the next few days. We expect demand for food banks to increase in the weeks ahead.
WEBSITE: Key information is now on the salvationarmy.org.uk website. We have listened and understand that not everyone has easy access to OurHub so a page on the territorial website now has all the key information, guidance and forms relating to the Coronavirus Response. Please visit: https://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/salvation-army-and-coronavirus
CHARITY SHOPS: There is no requirement for charity shops to close. Where shops can stay open, they should do so. In some places, closures may be necessary if staff are unavailable. This is a local decision.
NURSERY CLOSURES: Across the territory, all governments have directed that schools, registered early years providers, including childminders, private schools and sixth forms should close except for vulnerable children and key workers. Therefore, Salvation Army Early Years’ Facilities in the UK will continue to serve these children only. The UK Government will soon be defining ‘key worker’. Children who do not fall into these groups should remain at home with appropriate care.
· SAFEGUARDING: In light of the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of social distancing, ??every part of The Salvation Army in the UK and Republic of Ireland has been urged to mobilise and to re-imagine mission. Please remain mindful of the safeguarding considerations which need to be taken into account in all circumstances.
Where vulnerable groups have difficulties acquiring food and supplies, there is a risk of financial abuse and exploitation. If your corps, centre or unit is involved in helping high risk groups who are self-isolating by delivering food or picking up shopping, please be alert to the potential for abuse - including financial abuse and even sexual abuse.
Additionally, with school and nursery closures and children and families in isolation, there are fewer eyes on the child (e.g. teachers). Signs of abuse or harm may not be noticed, and children may be at risk behind closed doors. Home visits and deliveries may be crucial in providing support to a child and recognising issues which may need to be referred to the authorities.
The Coronavirus pandemic presents a highly unusual situation for society to deal with and may cause a lot of stress to individuals which may put children at higher risk behind closed doors. It could also encourage online offenders to access indecent images of children.
As we move many of our services online, there are safeguarding implications for you and participants, and there are existing protocols to manage risk to participants and leaders. For Safeguarding Guidance on all of these topics please consult articles on the Safeguarding Wiki at https://ourhub.salvationarmy.org.uk/Safeguarding/Pages/Safeguarding-Wiki.aspx
· GOOD NEWS: The Salvationist team and the Communications Officers at THQ and in Service Centres around the territory need to hear from you. We want to share news about how corps and centres are coping and finding new ministry opportunities. We are receiving daily enquiries from the BBC and the large news organisations keen to feature what we are doing, we should show our communities that we are not in retreat. Please share good news stories, videos, pictures, worship resources, etc by emailing email@example.com As many as possible will be shared in Salvationist, on the territorial social media platforms and website.
Thank you all our employees, officers, salvationists, volunteers and friends for all your hard work, enthusiasm and innovation. So many of you are putting in extra hours despite the very stressful and uncertain times.
God bless you and keep you,
Secretary for Communications