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Glossop charity reflects on a busy 2020 and plans for year ahead

The last 12 months have been challenging but rewarding in equal measure for local charity Reuben's Retreat, and the year ahead promises to be much the same.

Even during the coronavirus pandemic and successive lockdowns, the Glossop-based charity – which supports families bereaved of a child and families of children with a life limiting and life threatening illness – say it is ‘very proud’ of what it was still able to achieve during 2020.

In a review of the year, founder and chief executive Nicola Graham said: “Despite our fundraising landscape changing dramatically and income being significantly reduced, we have delivered the following support offering to families bereaved of their child and those whose child faces an uncertain future with a life limiting or life threatening condition.

“We delivered 529 one-to-one support sessions, which includes 372 bespoke counselling sessions, while 601 people attended group support activities.

“This equates to 2,384 hours of key support – a staggering five times the hours delivered throughout 2019 – which is testament to the expansion and hard work of our amazing team but sadly also a reflection of the rise in those needing more support due to Covid-19.

“We also arranged nine family breaks when restrictions allowed, and we safely delivered over 800 bespoke gifts to families all over the UK.”

Recognising the need to provide additional support due to the pandemic and associated restrictions, Reuben’s Retreat also launched four new initiatives throughout the year to help families navigate these uncertain times.

They were:

  • Rest & Restore – a calming and restorative online yoga practise
  • Dad’s Club – a peer support group specifically for fathers of loss
  • Me Time – one-to-one sessions with a skilled listener
  • Social Welcare – a professional advice service for those trying to access the benefits system

Nicola added: “To date, we have supported over 1,000 beneficiaries from 414 families and 184 new individuals sought the support of our wonderful charity in 2020.”

The current lockdown has meant the charity has already had to rethink some of its plans for 2021, but the year ahead promises to be just as busy as the last.

Nicola said: “We now look forward to another year ahead and the team have already started planning events, initiatives and activities to ensure our families remain held as they continue on their journey.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our army of compassionate hearts who support us throughout the year. We couldn’t do the beautiful work we do without your love, compassion and generosity.”

The restoration of its building at the former Woods Hospital site in Glossop was on hold for much of 2020 but the new wing is almost ready to welcome families when restrictions allow.

Meanwhile, the charity is looking for people to support it by completing a virtual run or walk of 874 miles, the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

People interested in signing up can email fundraising@reubensretreat.org for more details.

Main image:

Some of the various activities that Reuben's Retreat held in 2020 for families of children with complex conditions and those bereaved of their child, including a dove release on Christmas Day (bottom right). 

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