Statement from Guild Care CEO Suzanne Millard

3rd April 2020

We are celebrating our 87th birthday on 5th April, here our CEO Suzanne Millard explains the role we are playing in the local community during the most difficult of times.

Suzanne Millard CEO of  Worthing charity Guild Care

“Guild Care will be celebrating its 87th birthday on 5th April, a milestone I am very proud of and one we would ideally have celebrated by talking about the 30+ services we run to support the elderly and most vulnerable in our community. Unfortunately, that is now not possible.

The Coronavirus has hit us hard, just like it has done to every other charity, small business and large corporate in Worthing and the rest of the nation - and we have had to suspend all our day services and close our charity shops.

However, we are confident that we can weather this storm. We have a very strong cohort of around 400 key front-line workers who are still supporting over 1,000 older and vulnerable people in Worthing through our three cares homes, home care service, outreach team and sheltered accommodation.

We are also playing a role in helping the NHS. We were one of the very few care homes in Worthing that immediately opened our doors to hospital discharge patients who were unable to return home. We currently have 15 beds filled across all our homes for people receiving this temporary respite care.

Our staff are ordinary people, but doing extraordinary things day in and day out during these very anxious times. I am very humbled and extremely proud of them. They are doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances.

We are though a robust organisation. In our 87 years, we have survived the Second World War, recessions in the 1970s/80s, as well as the financial crash of 2008.

But there is no denying that the impact of the Coronavirus will have a massive effect on us. Our income will be significantly reduced as our care home occupancy has been impacted by taking on NHS beds, we are not running any community services and we have no income from our charity shops or Fundraising Team.

We, like many other charities and businesses, have also had to furlough a number of our staff but, where possible, we have trained and redeployed staff to work across the care homes and in the community to make sure that we continue to assist the most vulnerable and socially isolated people in Worthing.

There are still ways you can continue to support the charity. You could join our new Facebook group ‘You’ve got A Friend in Me’, where people can send our care home residents messages, making their worlds a little bigger and a little brighter during this difficult time. We know that any pictures, videos or poems would really cheer them up. Alternatively, any donations would be  gratefully appreciated.

Finally, as the CEO of this great local charity, I want to acknowledge again my amazing team who continue to make a difference every single day, and to thank you, the people of Worthing. There is no doubt that we will need your ongoing help over the coming months, so that we can make sure we are in the best position to go back to doing what we do best and running vital lifeline services for the people who need them most.”

Suzanne Millard, CEO