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24 December 2021

A Christmas Message from Mike Keel, our CEO

A Christmas Message from Mike Keel, our CEO

We are coming to the end of another very challenging year for everyone, both in our personal and working lives. Christmas can be a difficult time for some, especially if they’re facing their first Christmas without a loved one. This year, of course, will be exacerbated by the pandemic.

St Michael’s sees some of the incredible daily struggles that families face and we’ve tried really hard to cushion patients and their loved ones from the impact of the pandemic during what are already very difficult times for them.

The ingenuity, imagination and dedication of the Volunteers and Staff never fails to amaze me, and gives me huge pride in leading such a compassionate and caring organisation. We have kept most of our services going and where we’ve had to stop some (like support groups) the team has found ways to maintain contact with people so they don’t feel forgotten or neglected. We have never stopped visitors coming to St Michael’s and we have done everything to keep our Volunteers and Staff safe.

Christmas is often a time for reflection, and when I look back to a year ago, I was very optimistic that with the new testing regimes being introduced at the beginning of 2021, along with the new vaccines on the horizon, that the end was in sight. To still be dealing with the pandemic and all the guidance that emanates from government was not something we thought we’d be doing one year on.

Our fundraising and retail teams have battled bravely on. Trying to restore our events, activities and shops – often being thwarted at the last minute with new lockdowns or restrictions. But they remain positive and motivated to keep going to safeguard our care services. They tell me their energy and motivation comes from your generosity and loyalty. You have not deserted us and your forbearance and understanding when we’ve had to make last-minute changes has made the team’s task much easier.

Your donations continue to come in; you’ve kept our shop tills ringing; you’ve bought our Christmas Draw tickets and you held your own fundraisers or supported others doing these. You’ve come out in incredible numbers to take part in our Paint Runner, Plant Fair, Venus Walk, RUN fun run and, most recently, at our Grotto.  You’ve been there with us, every step of the way – Thank you.

I receive many letters, emails and messages from families who have experienced our care and support. They always stress the importance and impact this meant to them at such a difficult time. Many cannot believe their care was, in the main, funded by their neighbours, friends and colleagues in the form of donations and support. For many, this in turn motivates them to raise funds so the next family will get the same support they received.

So, this Christmas, when you reflect on the year, remember that you’ve helped us provide families with a gift they’ll always treasure – care and compassion when they needed it most.    

On behalf of all the patients and families, the Volunteers and Staff, and from me – thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

I hope you all manage a safe, peaceful and restful Christmas and New Year.

Mike Keel
Chief Executive

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