As the whole world has responded to the coronavirus pandemic, many charities have been facing especially difficult times.

In the middle of March Guild Care was diverse, running over 30 different services and support functions. However, with the announcement of strict social distancing and isolation measures, our charity had to very quickly work out how it was going respond to the numerous challenges ahead.

New services were created to continue to support our beneficiaries. These services included telephone support, shopping, and the provision of more care in people’s homes - in many cases stepping in where others had withdrawn services. Also, complex and costly clinical practises were immediately put in place to protect our employees, residents and service users. None of these significant changes would have been possible without the goodwill and support of all the staff involved.

However, we also had to manage this change against a backdrop of reduced income. Our shops closed, our fundraising activity has all but dried up, and many of our fee-paying services ceased.

Like many other organisations, Guild Care is now facing an even more challenging period. We now have to try to ensure the long-term future of the charity and the continued support of our beneficiaries, many of whom are vulnerable and have been previously supported in buildings based services that are no longer able to operate due to social distancing measures.

Guild Care’s Board of Trustees, who are responsible for ensuring both the financial stability of the charity and the long term ability to support the community, met recently to review the current and future position of the charity. With great sadness, it was agreed that Guild Care has no other option than to begin consultation with staff about a staff redundancy programme.

This robust and thorough programme of consultation has started, and we are hopeful that we can limit the number of roles at risk by encouraging staff to take up new and different roles within our care services.    

Guild Care has placed our beneficiaries at the centre of our thinking and is doing all that it can to shape its future services, but these services rely heavily on the local community for support, primarily through our fundraising activities and our charity shops.

Despite opening all of our shops as soon as we were able to and reviewing our fundraising activity, as a charity, we are unable to continue to pay the salaries of staff in services that are not able to operate. This and the significant reduction in our income means that in order to ensure our long-term sustainability, we are sadly having to place a number of roles at risk of redundancy. 

Suzanne Millard, Guild Care CEO, said: “We understand that this is going to be a very difficult time for staff and we will do all that we can to minimise the need for compulsory redundancy. Our staff are dedicated and loyal and we want to ensure that we can be as supportive as possible throughout this challenging time.”

Our charity has always relied on the community to financially help it support Worthing’s most vulnerable and we hope that we can continue to do so even through these challenging times. 

Guild Care has been supporting the local community in Worthing for over 85 years and in doing so has had to adapt and change to meet the needs of many of the town’s most vulnerable. It is and always will be a priority for us as a leading local charity to be able to continue to support those who need us most.