What have we been up to during lockdown?

Posted 21/10/21

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Dear Patrons & Supporters,

Now that we are back and in full operation, we wanted to move things forward by, firstly, backtracking to where we've been and what we've been up to since March 2020!

My goodness... 18 months that changed the World, and certainly affected each and every one of us! Like many of you, we had to adapt to doing things a little differently, and 'Zoom' became a word we all grew to love (for a time anyhow!).  Here are some of our Trustees from one of our many online Zoom meetings:
In the early stages of lockdown, when everything was quite surreal, everyone wanted to help but no one really knew how?

One of our Patrons, Phil and Heather Baker from Priority Window Films, supply and fit different film products, and found themselves in a unique position where they were able to use Government approved templates to make single use visors for NHS and care workers.  We were able to collect boxes of these visors from their home, and distribute to local care homes who were desperately short of supplies to assist with caring for their residents:
We purchased and delivered essential products for our NHS and care workers, in a few Hospitals across our region, whilst taking all necessary precautions to make sure that our team remained safe:
Our CEO started to volunteer with FareShare, the wonderful food charity, to help deliver food and essential items to local families.  One of our Patrons, The Saints Pub, started and still continues to purchase meals each week from Fare Share, and deliver to families in need in the local community, families who we support with the Foundation. Our CEO Nicky Banger continues his volunteering on a weekly basis with Fare Share, and is able to take a food hamper to The Knights Foundation Lodge each Saturday to leave for the family staying at the Lodge that week - you can see one of the food hampers that was left in the image below:

We started working with Natasha from the Fresh Kitchen Cookery School, to see if we could engage with our families and get them to meet other families online.  Natasha was fantastic with the children, and very patient, as we all cooked together online.  Such a lot of fun, and educational too as she would ask the children questions, and give them really interesting facts about food types etc.  We started with making scones, then did a Pancake cookery class for Shrove Tuesday which did involve a few flying pancakes here and there (!), we went Italian and made pizza's from scratch and really started our own little online cooking community:

We did a few quiz nights on Zoom for our Patrons, which was a lot of fun, but then decided that if the kids could have fun cooking online, why couldn't we?!

Natasha worked with us to create some wonderful cooking classes, where families would create 3 course meals, and all cook together online.  We took it a step further with many buying in the wine or beer for the type of cuisine we were cooking, and some classes started off with sangria or Tiger beer being consumed, even before the cooking ingredients came out!  Some of the cookery classes were, Italian (we loved it so much we did it twice with two completely different menus), Indian, Thai, Spanish... to name but a few!

We created many online competitions for the children and young families, such as Halloween, Easter and Christmas.  We also created online Raffles and Auctions for Christmas and Easter - something that worked so well online, we will adapt the way we work and continue in this way:

Many families who we work with rely on carers coming in throughout the day and night, and of course, this suddenly stopped during the initial lockdown.  The sole care for these children was left to the parents, and in many cases, these are single-parent families, who then had to provide personal care and administer medication throughout the night, each and every night.  This was such a challenging time for so many families with disabled children.

We offered help and support by collecting medication and delivering this to them so that they could avoid the long queues of people lining up outside pharmacies when only one person/family was allowed in at a time.  This was a huge relief to many as being outside in the cold, with disabled children, is not ideal.

We helped deliver food and essentials to our families, where needed.

But once the initial lockdown had finished, and things had started opening up temporarily, we realised how much of a blessing the Knights Foundation Lodge really was. It had been a huge commitment for us when it opened in September 2019, knowing that it was a huge financial commitment to the Charity that would span 4 years, but little did we know that the pandemic was lurking around the corner and that ALL of our fundraising would stop... instantly!

The pressure that has been on us has been huge, but when I tell you that from when it opened in 9/2019 up until Christmas day this year, 65 families will have been able to take a much-needed break at the relaxing lodge, in accessible and adapted luxurious surroundings... then you will know just how very proud we are that our work continues.  This is ONLY possible by the amazing support that we continue to have from our Patrons, whom we consider as part of the Knights Foundation Family.  Without your generous and kind support, financial, physical and emotional, we would not have been able to change and enrich so many lives.  There are so many families out there who wish to thank you all, each and every one of you, for bringing light and hope at such dark times for all.

Unfortunately during this time, we have also lost a few of the children that we have been supporting and working with.  Simply devastating.  We would really like to take this opportunity to send our best wishes and heartfelt condolences to the special families and loved ones that they leave behind.  We remain in contact and are extremely thankful that the Lodge has been able to provide a welcome respite, in a tranquil setting, for these families to just get away for a while, to reflect.  We remember your beautiful children's smiling faces, each and every day.

There are too many stories and images to share, but hopefully, you get a feel for how the Foundation has tried to connect with our supporters, our families and our Patrons throughout this difficult 18 months.

We will be contacting you very shortly with news about our upcoming events, but do feel free to check our EVENTS PAGE in the meantime, and let us know if you'd like to attend or support in any way?

On behalf of the whole team at the Knights Foundation, we'd like to say... THANK YOU


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