Our mission to remain open during the pandemic
Never in National Star’s 53-year history has the need for your support been so great as during this pandemic. Throughout the lockdowns, National Star has continued to care and provide essential services for young people and adults with complex needs. We have not closed for a single day in this pandemic.
So many young people and their families depend on us. We could not let them down. To remain open has taken incredible effort and commitment. Our staff are working ceaselessly to find new, creative ways of providing education, care and therapies to ensure the safety of the vulnerable young people we support.
We have gone to great lengths to support those in our care. Every week, to help maintain our rigorous infection control, more than 800 staff are tested for coronavirus.
Every day hundreds of staff, students and residents have their temperature checked in every building. Every week National Star uses more than 5,500 face masks alone, aside from all the other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE), sanitisers and cleaning materials.
Every service has had to be rethought and risk assessed as we developed new ways of doing things and increased our infection control, which has, from the very beginning of this pandemic, gone above and beyond the government’s guidance. During the first six months alone we have spent over £157,000 on PPE and that figure is increasing every week.
We decided to do everything in our power to protect the young people and adults in our care and to protect the staff. That meant pausing all our commercial activities and fundraising events and closing our sites to the public. We are fortunate that 80% of our income comes directly from statutory bodies, such as The Education and Skills Funding Agency, local authorities and the NHS. Yet, the 20% we receive through other programmes, fundraising and income generation activities is vital for us to maintain and develop the high level of facilities, resources and specialist equipment that underpin the quality of our provision.
There is no doubt that these dedicated facilities, resources and specialist equipment have played a crucial role in our ability to remain open. Without those who so generously supported us in the past, we could not have supported these young people with such complex needs. An excellent example is our learning space at our Cheltenham accommodation, Bradbury Gardens, which is used by students and long-term residents. That learning space, kindly part-funded by a generous charitable trust, meant that we had an on-site resource where classes and therapies could continue throughout the first lockdown when the site operated as a self-isolating household and there was limited access to our campus at Ullenwood.
The long-term challenges for the charity are immense. The economic pressures which will result from the national spending during the pandemic will undoubtedly affect National Star for years to come. We know that these are also difficult times for everyone and we particularly send our best wishes if you are facing your own challenges.
But, we do know that the needs of the young people and adults that National Star works with will remain as great as ever and we are determined – with your help – to continue to provide the services that they and their families depend on.
More than ever, we need your support, and we appreciate whatever help you can provide. Help us be there for those who need us most.