Rallying together in challenging times

15th April 2020

Raleigh alumni Charlie is a director of a care home in South East England. Working in this sector has come with great challenges during the global pandemic, but there have also been rays of hope as communities support their most vulnerable. Charlie shares his experience and reflects on the importance of rallying together.

I volunteered on Raleigh in Borneo in 2010. Raleigh taught me so much, not least to focus on what you can do in a situation rather than worry about what you can’t. You can’t stop rain pouring in the jungle, but you can do your best to ensure your tarp is keeping it out of your hammock. It’s stuck with me through many periods of adversity, not least now, in these times of global difficulty.

As a director of a care home, I work with some of our most vulnerable people. We have been directly affected by the limited resources to protect those we care for from COVID-19. Supplies of PPE have been woefully inadequate, particularly for care homes. But I can’t do anything about that. What I can do, however, is explore as many other avenues as possible.

In the first couple of weeks of the pandemic, we managed to source aprons, gowns and masks from various sources, including other care homes and painting and decorating suppliers. But visors were out of stock everywhere with no guarantee of when they would be available again.

PPE is essential for those working with those most vulnerable

I contacted two local schools whose children often visit our care home and asked whether they’d consider donating their safety specs from their science labs. With so much on their own plates (trying to set up remote learning in a matter of days) I wasn’t sure I’d get a response, but within 48 hours we had over 100 safety specs on our doorstep.

Communities supporting those on the frontline

We have also been offered free visors from a local family via Instagram, who have dedicated their self-isolation to making as many visors as possible to donate to local hospitals and care homes. Now we have everything we need to protect our care team from COVID-19. And just in the nick of time, as one of our residents who contracted the virus in hospital is coming back to our care home this weekend.

These are just some of the great examples of how the current situation is bringing people together, and one that highlights just how positive social media can be at times like this.

Charlie volunteered as an Expedition Photographer in Borneo in 2010

The spirit of Raleigh is team-work and equality, celebrating people’s differences and nurturing their vulnerabilities to demonstrate that everyone’s role in a team is equally important. This lockdown has celebrated key workers who are usually hidden in modern society, and encouraged big businesses and manufacturers to step up, some providing life-support machines for the most vulnerable. Like a Raleigh team, we are in this together and we all have a role to play, and that’s the spirit that will carry us through.


In difficult times, we need to #RaleighTogether. If you have a perspective you wish to share on the Raleigh blog, get in touch at blog@raleighinternational.org 

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