What a difference six months makes – we are now living in a very different world from last December. All of you will have been affected directly or indirectly by this terrible virus and our thoughts and good wishes are with you as we all face an uncertain future in whatever purports to be the “new normal”. I think the main thing we have all missed is human contact. Telephone and computer technology has enabled most of us to keep in touch but it is not the same as being face to face and able to hug our loved ones !
The Trustees continue to meet using internet “Zoom” meetings and we decided early on that in order to protect our staff, both Karen and Paula would work from home. Nothing has really changed day to day – calls are accessed remotely and with the miracle of modern technology, they work as if they are in the office, from the safety of their respective homes. All post and email is answered, all payments continue to be made, and your Visitors continue to contact you, and report back to the Trust if you need any help. The main casualty of this new socially distanced world is our much loved teas and events. Here in Liverpool we managed to have one last event on 10th March, when Rosie Lochiel-Owen, a trustee and great grand-daughter of our founder Mr Owen Owen, organised a physiotherapy event followed by tea for 35 ex staff. It was a lovely afternoon, and the plan was and still is to take the event out to other areas. It may be the end of the year, or it may be next spring, but as soon as it is safe to do so, we will organise another similar event and we will get your local events up and running.
I am sad to report the death of two of our dearly loved visitors. Rosemary Williams, our longest serving visitor, who looked after Shrewsbury and Newport for 32 years before retiring last year, passed away in February at the age of 95; and Bernadette Wilson, who took on the Preston role 5 years ago, passed away just before Christmas after a short illness. We send our condolences to both families. Despite her illness, Bernadette organised her Christmas lunch, and when too ill to attend, her daughters took her place. She recommended Barbara Wilkinson to carry on her work and we are pleased to welcome her to our family of visitors. Our Wirral visitor Moira Connor stepped down at the end of 2019 and we are also pleased to welcome Sheila Stanton who will be making contact and organising events in the not too distant future.
As plans evolve to get our shops and businesses open again, please remember that if you need help to purchase household goods or undertake urgent repairs, we are waiting to hear from you. Do ensure that you shop with companies who have safe delivery and installation processes, don’t put yourself in danger. Reputable retailers will ensure that both you and their staff are kept safe, so please don’t take any chances letting people into your home, who do not follow safety guidelines.
Our new website should be up and running soon. As well as being a source of information about the Trust, we also want you to use it to share memories and photographs of your time with the Owen Owen family. Perhaps you have some lockdown stories to share, or – as you may have seen on our Facebook page – you may want to join in with our garden photo challenge. Take a photo of your, or someone else’s, garden and the best photo will be selected and posted on our new website. There are some great old photos and training videos being put on the website, I’m sure you will all enjoy seeing how hairstyles have evolved over the decades! Once we have dates for our events, we will add those to the website, as well as on the Facebook page.
If you receive a grant from the Trust, you will have received your income declaration forms just before lockdown. If you haven’t returned your form yet, please try and get it back to us by the end of June in the freepost envelope we sent with it. This exercise takes place every two years and makes sure that we are helping those most in need. If you need any help with the form, call the office and Karen or Paula will call you back.
I do hope that this letter has served to remind you that we are here to help. If you need to apply for financial assistance get in touch. If you are feeling isolated, alone or anxious, then call the office or your visitor, we are all in this together, and we are here to talk. We will always call you back.
In the meantime please stay safe and we look forward to seeing you all again when this Corona situation is over.
Chairman of the Trustees
Owen Owen Trust, 151 Dale Street, Liverpool L2 2AH Tel 0151 237 3985
Trustees: Kay Eggleton, John Barker, Len Foster, Sue Mitchell, David Owen, Rosie Lochiel-Owen, Liz Stewardson, Alan Turner and Bob Warren