Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care (SCCCC)
Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care or as it is more commonly known S&4C’s has been helping the community of Sheffield for over 50 years. A dedicated team of staff and volunteers works tirelessly all year round to ensure that older people have the practical and emotional support they need, when they need it. Last year our volunteers carried out over 4,000 hours of unpaid work and together we helped over 3,600 people – a 17% increase on the year before.
Demand for services is increasing. There are more people living longer. More people being cared for at home. More people caring for loved ones, but who in reality need care themselves. More people living with more than one long-term health condition and more people living in poverty.
Some people are unable to afford the simplest of things. Food on the table, heating costs for example. Others just can’t get out and about and become isolated and the sad fact is that social isolation can contribute to a greater number of hospital admissions and increases the risk of premature death by 26%
We work in partnership to help tackle some of these issues. Partnership with professionals in health and social care, partnership with families and friends and partnership with other charitable organisations such as Sheffield Hospital Sunday Fund.
Funding given by Hospital Sunday Fund allows charities like ours to work with those who are marginalised from society.
For example, the homeless man who was ready to be discharged from hospital but couldn’t, simply because his sleeping bag had been lost;
The 89 year old who was waiting to be discharged but was living in a property without heating;
And the 65 year old woman who was stuck in hospital because staff wouldn’t let her go – because they knew she didn’t have any money to put into her gas and electric meter. It was much safer to keep her in hospital.
All these three people were helped at a total cost of £65.
A new sleeping bag, a small electric heater and £25 for gas and electric.
A little really can go a long way.
Or maybe it’s the help that was provided to the disabled 80 year old whose son lived with him. A son with learning difficulties. A devoted son who wanted to look after his dad shortly after his return home from hospital. Who, knowing that they had no money, and knowing that they had no heating, decided to light a fire in the kitchen – using petrol. Everything that they possessed was lost in the fire and they were lucky to escape with their lives.
Money from the Hospital Sunday Fund helped them with the rebuilding of their lives. It provided them with clothing, nightwear, bedding and a food parcel. Simple things – but things which were there at the right time because of the partnership with the Hospital Sunday Fund.
The burns victim from Liverpool. During a visit to Sheffield he suffered horrific burns and was admitted to Northern General Hospital. Several weeks later he was able to be discharged from hospital. Without any clothing, it presented a bit of a problem. Using money from Hospital Sunday Fund we were able to go and buy him clothes that helped with hospital discharge and got him home.
Perhaps it’s the 92 year old lady suffering from dementia and living alone. We were called to her house to do an emergency shop following discharge and found that she only had £2 in her purse. Her bread was green, the bacon in her fridge was black and the milk she was using for her cups of tea was curdled. Hospital Sunday Fund was there when she needed it.
John benefited from support from the Hospital Sunday Fund. He had terminal cancer and had been given 6 weeks to live. He had declined in health and had been spending his time upstairs in his bed, isolated from his family and seeing just the four walls. Occasional visits to break up his day – but life doesn’t stop for other people.
Funding allowed us loan him an electric recliner chair. A chair which was placed in his living room, the centre of the family, where he was able to remain as an integral and central part of the family. He was able to sit and look out onto his garden that he had lovingly tendered all his life, watching the birds as they flew down enjoying the food that his wife had put out for them – something he used to do. A chair where he was able to sit and watch his grandchildren play, with their smiling faces and happy demeanour – young children full of innocence.
Being central to the family unit made John happy.
And when he got tired, John was able to relax back in this chair and sleep. And when John finally went to sleep, his wife wanted to buy the chair off us – because it contained all the happy memories of Johns last weeks.
Now, we can’t sell the chairs, because there is so much demand for them and we only have 4. Each chair sees around 8 patients a year and lasts around 2 years before it needs re-covering. And when it needs to be recovered it costs £450.
But break that down. Just £28.13 to help someone like John.
And finally, this leads me on to Bill. I couldn’t possible leave today without sharing the story of Bill. The most kind hearted 89 year old who I have ever had the pleasure to meet. A man who once put £5,000 in a collection bucket. He was discharged from hospital to home and the ward staff asked S&4C’s to do an emergency shop for him. We did this but found out that Bill had no one. He lived alone and had lost his wife and only daughter a number of years previously and had no other family. Bill had terminal lung cancer and was given 8 weeks to live. 8 weeks of being alone and only seeing the carers who went in to do their clinical job before moving onto their next patient.
After speaking to Hospital Sunday Fund I was able to help by providing a friendly visitor who would call and sit with Bill every week – spending some social time with him and talking about the past. Something that Bill found very comforting. Bill died in December last year – exactly 10 years to the day that his wife died. And I know that he was so appreciative of the social contact we were able to provide and the fact that we were able to do it with the help of the Hospital Sunday Fund.
Nobody should be alone when they’re so close to death.
But there are so many people out there in the same position as Bill and just a few pounds can help. By making sure that there is somebody there for them.
We could have looked at placing a volunteer with Bill but the timescales were just too short. By using an experienced sessional worker we were able to respond immediately and give the help at the time when it was needed.