“It’ll end in tiers…”

Today we come out of national lockdown – back into Tier 3. Though really, I think it should be called Tier 3+ as regulations have changed since the previous iteration and tighter restrictions are now in place.

This brings a note of disappointment to all those in our community who are struggling with loneliness. For many, a visit to a coffee shop was a needed chance to feel the warmth of human company, even if still unable to do this socially. Coffee in a paper cup on a bench in the town centre just isn’t quite the same…

At Community Lives Matter, we had planned a series of socially distanced afternoon teas in line with the previous hospitality sector regulations for people on their own. Now, however, the imposition of a take-away service only has made this impossible. After all, it’s not the food they’re after, it’s the chance to get out, to see a friendly face even if no interaction is possible, and to feel part of the wider world.

We will also not be able to invite those on their own to the Christmas films that had been planned. We feel for those affected but have to prioritise people’s safety and compliance with government guidelines over our desire to offer help.

Whilst unable to serve food at this time, we will be delivering a full Christmas meal to people who are on their own on Christmas day. Our fantastic team of volunteers will be cooking up and distributing this to as many as we can. If you would like to request a Christmas meal, please do get in touch.

And beyond Christmas, we trust that at some point the situation will improve – so we can offer much needed support to those on their own. You never know, we might even be moved into Tier 2! And longer term, the promise of a vaccine offers some light at the end of the tunnel.

However things turn out, we are keen to do as much as we lawfully can to continue to offer support to those struggling on their own. And we are grateful to funding from the Government through the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, for a grant to enable us to do just that.

And in the meantime, just don’t go “Cryin’ Christmas Tiers”!