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Caring for Life innovates under lockdown

August 2020 | by Esther Smith

‘Hands on’ support of vulnerable people characterises the ministry of Caring For Life, but the lockdown has compelled the charity to adapt and innovate.

The charity’s mission is to share the love of Christ by providing housing, support, and a range of lively daytime activity projects to society’s marginalised and needy.

However, since March and the onset of Covid-19, everything changed at Crag House Farm, home of CFL.

The daytime projects closed, our two supported homes went into lockdown, and all ‘hands on’ support stopped.

It was difficult. Many who benefit from our work regard CFL as their family and Crag House Farm as the only true ‘home’ they’ve ever known.

Our June Open Day had to be cancelled, and CFL support groups cannot meet.

A small team remains in place to maintain the farm, man the phones, and undertake essential work. Additionally, a team of key workers are each caring for up to 30 beneficiaries.

Although the support is remote, the team has noted a new openness to talk about the Lord in light of the pandemic. Some who showed no prior interest wanted to pray over the phone and several have spoken of reading the Bible for the first time.

Many live under difficult circumstances: flats with no outside space; no safe area to go for a walk; domestic violence; deteriorating mental health.

The calls our key workers make have been a lifeline and the team constantly think up creative ways to engage those we support, such as FaceTime cooking, Zoom craft sessions, quizzes, and remote coffee times.

Food parcels have also been delivered to those who have no means of getting food, and key workers are able to wave through a window or chat from a safe distance.

For some years, around 45 people have attended Bible studies at CFL. However, reading and understanding the Bible can be hard if you have a learning disability or issues with reading or comprehension.

During the lockdown, daily easy-read Bible notes are offered to those who would normally attend Bible studies, produced in-house and posted out.

Having just received a text from his key worker with Isaiah 40:28-31 and an image of eagles soaring, one young man texted that he’d never thought about God never getting tired. He said the thought of soaring on wings like eagles made him feel free!

Esther Smith

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