An open letter from CEO Patrick Ryan

To all Hestia staff and volunteers, 

Today, Tuesday 23 March 2021 is a national day of reflection to mark the first anniversary of Britain’s lockdown. Alongside the minute’s silence at midday across the country, it is an opportunity for us all to remember everyone who has died during the coronavirus pandemic but especially those near and dear to us. In our busy lives, even at a time of lockdown it is a moment to acknowledge how hard it is for everyone who has lost someone they care about, whether it is a relative, friend or work colleague.

It is also an opportunity to remember the awe inspiring commitment of all of you who work and volunteer at Hestia. Not only did you keep all our vital services open and safe but with an extraordinary team effort you succeeded in opening 13 new services – many of which were a direct response to the needs of those who were most adversely affected by the pandemic and lockdown. People are alive and safe today because of your professionalism, commitment and integrity. I also want to acknowledge today the amazing and collaborative contribution of our service users to our efforts and successes of the last year – we could not have done it without their generous support.

Together, we have done well and I am immensely proud of what each of you has achieved. However many of us are tired and while we are very good at taking care of others it is essential that in the coming weeks and months that we find ways to care for ourselves and our colleagues. Even as the vaccine brings new optimism we know that the pandemic is not over yet. Each day at Hestia we see  more and more distress and the detrimental impact of the last year particularly on the mental health of those we support. We have much to do and we are not immune to feeling overwhelmed either and if you are struggling and need support, do not be afraid to ask. Speak with your manager or a colleague – no one has to get through this on their own.

Today let us remember those we have lost as well as those who are grieving while also taking heart with what you have achieved to help so many.