It has been a challenging year for Erskine and our service users due to COVID-19 and the related restrictions and impact on income. The early lockdown period was especially challenging for our Homes. Our four Homes closed to non-essential visitors in March and additional care practices were introduced such as barrier nursing, physical distancing measures and increased infection control procedures. This meant residents could not enjoy their usual day-to-day life at Erskine; for example, they were unable to have visitors and could not gather together for communal activities. While we could later reopen for visiting and reintroduce some aspects of normal Home life, the risk of COVID-19 remains for our elderly residents and so our provision of care and support remains significantly more cautious than usual.
Our Activities Centre temporarily closed from March to ensure the safety of our veterans and staff. However, we quickly adapted to deliver remote support to our socially isolated Centre members. We continue to support 110 vulnerable veterans aged from 27 to 97. Our staff maintain regular one-to-one phone contact with members and hold regular group video calls and events to them stay in touch and enjoy their usual banter and social engagement. Our team are offering a wide variety of groups as well as sessions with entertainers and special guests.
Erskine’s utmost priority is the safety and wellbeing of our veterans. The probability of further severe restrictions is concerning as our residents cannot enjoy many aspects of normal Erskine life and the threat of COVID-19 remains for these high-risk, elderly veterans. In addition, restrictions on visiting can be detrimental to their wellbeing. However, we will continue to ensure residents can enjoy the best quality of life possible and can stay in touch with their loved ones through video calls and our online Workplace groups.
Severe restrictions are also a concern for our Activities Centre members. These veterans are at risk of social isolation and loneliness: 80% of members attending our remote sessions are over 65, while over 50% live alone. It is vital that we continue to deliver our programme of remote support in 2021.
Our charity has experienced significant losses in income as fundraising activity has been greatly limited by COVID-19 restrictions, as well as losses in investment income and care home fee income. In addition, we have accrued many additional costs to make necessary changes to our services such as procurement of PPE, hygiene materials, Perspex screens and COVID-19 signage. We are incredibly grateful for your support at this time.
Erskine is proud that our staff were able to quickly make the necessary changes to our provision of care and adapt our Activities Centre to a remote service. Although it has been a challenging year, we are looking ahead to exciting new projects in 2021. We are hopeful that a return to more normal life at our Homes will be possible in the not-too-distant future.