Suffolk County Council Adult Services have commended Empanda and our care staff for opening All Hallows Day Centre on the public holiday to mark the funeral of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
When we heard the tragic news of her passing and the decision to make the day of her funeral a public holiday, we were concerned that our day care customers would be home alone as day care traditionally closes on public holidays.
When the idea to open was presented to our staff team, we were inundated with volunteers from All Hallows Day Centre who were willing to forego their own plans to provide comfort and company for those who needed it.
Four customers attended and we were able to offer a home-to-home transport service for those who needed it. The local taxi driver also gave his services on the day.
Our customers, supported by three staff members watched the morning’s proceedings on the big screen, before having a nice lunch and afternoon activities.
Here’s what some of our customers had to say:
Coming in today meant I was able to watch the Queen’s funeral with my friends and staff. It was good to be with other people.”
Linda, Bryan’s wife and carer said, “It was helpful for Bryan to attend on this public holiday because I have recently had an operation, so it enabled me to have a rest day to aid my recovery, I felt that a weight had been taken off my shoulders in the knowledge that he was safe and being well looked after.”
She added, “I find that when Bryan returns home from day care, he’s always more alert and we both have more to chat about our day.”
“I’m glad I came. I enjoyed myself and have had a lovely day.”
Norman also came in for the day and his wife Rae told us, “It was invaluable for me to have time off from caring for my husband. It gave me the opportunity to be able to watch the Queen’s funeral without any interruptions.”
100-year-old Hilda said, “I very much appreciated the opportunity to come and watch the Queen’s funeral with others. I also really enjoyed my two-course lunch.”
Sally Hanlin, managing director said, “This has been a very difficult time for everyone, particularly older people. For many customers using our day care services, her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, had been a constant presence in their lives, from her accession to the throne in 1952, her coronation in 1953, until her passing on 8 September. We wanted to give people, particularly those living on their own, the opportunity to come into the day centre to watch the funeral with their friends and supported by staff, share memories or simply watch in silence with their own thoughts, knowing they were not alone in their grief. We are indebted to our All Hallows care team for going above and beyond.”
On behalf of Empanda, we would like to say a huge thank you not only to the All Hallows team but to all our other colleagues who worked throughout the day, as they do on every bank holiday, supporting our customers in our young people’s services and services for adults with a learning disability. We are indebted to you all.