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ERIC’s CEO, Juliette Rayner outlines the impact Covid-19 Pandemic has had on the charity so far and the protective measures now needed to keep our vital helpline service open.

"Over the last few unprecedented weeks, it’s become ever clearer the huge impact this world-wide crisis is having on all aspect of our lives.

For ERIC it has meant that in a very short space of time, the income we rely on from our social enterprise activities to fund our vital work supporting children and families has been entirely wiped out.

Impact on our services

Following direct advice from the UK Government, we had to close our online shop, suspend all training events for health and education professionals and ask all staff to work from home including our helpline advisors. Our Paediatric Continence Conference for health care professionals planned for October and a significant income generator for ERIC is under review.

There has also been an immediate and understandable drop in donations from individuals who are facing financial uncertainty and hardship themselves. All fundraising events have had to be postponed or cancelled. Our corporate partners and trust funders are understandably nervous about making financial commitments and joint working.

For a charity reliant on this income and individual giving, the drop in our income and ability to fundraise has been immediate and devastating.

Faced with reduced income we have been left with no option but to furlough most of ERIC’s staff. On 1 April staff will cease work until 1 June. This will be kept under review.

The speed in which COVID 19 pandemic has impacted on us has sadly forced us to take this course of action. We look forward to a time when the crisis has passed and we can welcome back the team to resume our full range of services and projects targeted at supporting children, young people and families.

Keeping our helpline open

Our priority is to focus on being there for families who need us now more than ever with NHS paediatric continence services closing across the UK or offering reduced services.

I am delighted that our freephone helpline and information service can continue. Natalie, one of our three expert advisors will deliver the service from her home, supported by clinicians who have very kindly offered to volunteer their time. Families will be able to get emotional, constructive and practical help and, for many this will be the only direct access to help. We can’t thank our volunteers enough for their help.

When the crisis has passed and we are all adjusting to the ‘new normal’ we aim to come back stronger and more determined than ever to support parents, carers, children, young people and our NHS, public health, education and early years colleagues in whatever way we are needed. 

With your support, together, we know we can do this. If you would like to help please keep on using our services, signpost to the ERIC website, let us know if there is anything we can do differently to help you now and please, if you are able donate what you can, when you can.

Thank you wholeheartedly for your kind messages and support we really do appreciate them all.

Juliette Rayner, CEO 

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