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Covid-19 Services Update

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Coronavirus Services Update for our Clients. September 2020:

We are in the process of mailing this update out to our clients and volunteers.

The continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in us carrying out a strategic review of the services provided by our charity, taking into account the safety of our clients, volunteers and staff, as well as the reduction in our income, to ensure that our charity can survive and prosper in the long term.

This strategic review has identified a number of services that we are no longer able to deliver which unfortunately means that a number of job roles become redundant. Whilst some of the redundancies have been concluded we are still in consultation with a few staff which should be concluded during September.

If you require any support or advice please do not hesitate to give us a call on 0114 272 2757 or 01709 722 420.

Going forward, until such time as a vaccine has been proved to be effective and the virus is defeated, the changes to our service provision are as follows:

  1. Our Mappin Street and Ship Hill Centres will remain closed to general visitors but limited access to staff will be available by appointment only if a face to face appointment is absolutely essential and cannot be done remotely either over the phone or by video call.
  2. As a result of our centres being closed to all but essential visitors our Mappin Street Activities Centre and all group activities at both Mappin Street and Ship Hill will no longer be operating.
  3. Our Café VIPS at Mappin Street is closed.
  4. Our Equipment Centres at both Mappin Street and Ship Hill are closed to general visitors but are available by appointment only through our Community Advice Officers. The CAO’s will also be supported by Rob McCann who takes on the new role of Equipment Advisor. Rob will be able help clients decide what equipment might help them to maintain their independence, most of this work being done over the phone or video call but face to face appointments will be available where necessary. Any equipment issued or sold to clients will be delivered by Dennis, one of our former minibus drivers.
  5. Our hearing aid repair service will continue at both Mappin Street and Ship Hill, working in conjunction with the NHS audiology departments in both Sheffield and Rotherham.
  6. Our Community Advice Officers continue to carry out assessments when people are first referred to us, they advise clients on appropriate equipment and support clients with welfare benefit applications. However, whereas most of this work was previously done whilst visiting clients in their own home they will now be doing this work over the telephone, by video call or where essential by face to face appointments in our centres.
  7. We have volunteers contacting clients by telephone:
    1. Some clients who are particularly vulnerable are contacted on a regular basis (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) by volunteers who are known as TeleFriends volunteers.  
    2. Other clients who we haven’t had contact with for 3 months will also receive a telephone call from volunteers to check that they are OK and identify if there is anything that we could support them with. These volunteers are known as TeleContact Volunteers and currently these are Gary, Gail, Hilary, Ken and Viv. If you are contacted by anybody over the phone and you are not sure if it is a genuine call then please just politely say you need to check and give us a call on 0114 272 2757.
    3. We are posting out weekly Activity Packs containing Large Print Word Searches, Crosswords, Quizzes, etc. If you would like to receive these please just give us a call.           
  8. Our Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, Kate and Sharon, who are usually based in the eye department at Royal Hallamshire Hospital are working from home at the moment contacting patients by telephone and then, where appropriate, referring on to services external to SRSB/RSS as well as our Community Advice Officers.
  9. Our services to support children and young people mainly comprised social and sports activities as well as support with welfare benefits etc. We are not able to continue with the social and sports activities but the welfare benefits can still be done by our Community Advice Officers.
  10. Our Emotional Support Service continues to be operated by Hayley Martin, albeit mainly by telephone rather than face to face meetings.
  11. Self Help & Support Groups – groups such as Charles Bonnet Support Group, RP Group and Sheffield Macular Group are likely to be meeting virtually either by telephone or video conferencing.
  12. We have started a virtual weekly get together using Zoom video conferencing which is proving to be popular and we will be looking at other opportunities to develop more virtual groups. If you would like to take part please just give us a call
  13. Our Community Engagement Team has been discontinued as there are not likely to be many opportunities for them to promote our services etc. However, Liz Bowman has taken up the new role of Development Officer where she will be developing our Looking Ahead Course and delivery of Visual Impairment Awareness Training, predominantly utilising video conferencing.
  14. We will be investigating other ways of arranging activities, developing other services etc. If you have any suggestions of things you might like us to look into then please let us know by giving Joanne Ardern, Deputy General Manager, a call on 0114 272 2757 or email


Our income has seen a very significant reduction and whilst the support from the government through the CJRS furlough scheme and business rates grant has helped to mitigate this loss in the short term the government support is coming to an end and we are not expecting our income to recover to pre-COVID levels for between 3 to 5 years.

We are not likely to be resuming store and football collections in the foreseeable future and most of our fundraising events, including our 160th Anniversary Dinner have been cancelled by the venues. Accordingly we need to maximise the income from the few remaining events which for the rest of 2020 are as follows:

Virtual Pub Quiz

Wednesday 16th September 2020, 7:30pm to 10pm

Fancy putting those brain cells to the test? Then we have just the thing for you... our VIRTUAL Pub Quiz! Join us for our special 160th Anniversary history and general knowledge theme. With SPECIAL GUEST Quiz Master – Shaun Doane from the Everly Pregnant Brothers! We look forward to welcoming you virtually. It will be fun! It will be so nice to welcome all our regulars as well as any newcomers!

Winning household wins x4 meals from The Old Queens Head, Sheffield (where we normally hold the quiz).

£10 per household, 100 spaces available.

Charity Golf Day

Rotherham Golf Club, Thursday 24th Sept 2020, First tee off 9:30am

Anyone for golf? if you or your family and friends play golf then please join us for our annual charity golf day Team of four: £180 which includes breakfast as well as lots of prizes.

For all events you can book online on our events page call 0114 272 2757 or email

Free Will Week

Monday 5th October to Friday 9th October

During the week we will be holding a free legal surgery with representatives from different local solicitors attending 10:30am to 2:30pm for pre booked appointments only. During the week if you decide to make a will there will be no cost to you, subject to it being a basic straight forward will. All we ask is you consider making a donation or leaving a gift in your will to SRSB/RSS to help us provide a future for our clients and maintain the services we provide. Our youngest client is just a few months old and we have to be there to support them for life.

To book your appointment give us a call on 0114 2722757 or email

The Weather Lottery

Support SRSB/RSS by taking part in our Weather Lottery from just £1 per week you have the chance to win a weekly cash prize of £25,000. For further information give us a call on 0114 272 2757 or email find out more our website

COVID Appeal

We also have a COVID Appeal running which you can support online at give us a call on 0114 272 2757 to pay by card or just send us a cheque payable to SRSB.

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