December 24, 2020 10.04 am This story is over 40 months old

Reflections 2020: Caroline Killeavy – Worship life, we’re all in this beauty together!

A big thank you to key workers and the local community

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By YMCA Lincolnshire Chief Executive

The dawning of a New Year affords us the opportunity to reflect and consciously sort the events of the year gone by into the challenges faced and successes achieved. We strive to learn lessons and shape our aspirations for the future. So, what have my colleagues and I learnt at YMCA Lincolnshire in 2020?

Well, firstly it’s been a year of generosity and compassion, a year of viewing ‘family’ in its widest possible sense. We’ve been reminded of the strength of a society that values all generations and difference – young people starting out in life, with energy, hope and bravery; older people with experience, wisdom and stories to tell; people from different backgrounds, cultures, religions – we all have an essential part to play in a healthy, caring society. Our appreciation for the talents and contribution of our elders has grown in 2020 and our human instinct to protect each other has been strong.

This year, YMCA Lincolnshire has supported over 5,000 vulnerable and isolated older people across Lincolnshire through its Ted Ageing Better programme, its Covid Telephone Helpline and through our Friendship Group networks. Our Good Neighbour Scheme, which helps community groups develop the skills and tools needed to support each other, has never been so popular.

2020 has also brought a greater appreciation of what the word freedom means. New words have entered our world – lockdown, social distancing, isolation – words that limit our freedom to live our lives the way we would wish. The need to limit movement and freedom has proved more challenging for the already vulnerable in our society. Through our Supported & Emergency Accommodation we have provided shelter to over 300 vulnerable people throughout lockdown. The constant threat of a Covid outbreak has hung over us, driving our intense focus on hygiene and wellbeing.

2020 has been the year of the hidden hero, those colleagues and members of our society who work tirelessly behind the scenes to protect and to care. Our dictionary now has a word for these people – Key Workers – charity people, cleaners, maintenance teams, transport workers, NHS – we have seen and recognised them all in 2020 and we are indebted to them. I would like to pay tribute to the team at YMCA Lincolnshire, and all those in the Housing and Care Sectors for their remarkable resilience.

Finally, we’ve been reminded of the importance and value of using our senses and living life to the fullest;

  • Our nursery children have designed colourful pictures to send to isolated people to brighten their day
  • With your support we’ve provided essential food and care packages to those with nothing
  • We’ve provided comfortable beds, hot showers and a warm welcome to all
  • We’ve provided games to play, songs to sing, companionship… and we have listened
  • Above all we’ve provided safety and reassurance

We’ve looked out for the whole person – Mind, Body and Spirit.

2020 has been the year that we have reminded ourselves how to be human, to use our senses, to provide small moments of comfort and joy to others. The communities of Lincolnshire have responded as one in 2020 – united in our resilience, recognising the value of personal human contact and togetherness, providing an extended family to those who need it.

If 2020 were a brand, what would its tag line be?

“Worship life – all life, every last crawling bit of it! We’re all in this beauty together!” Frank Herbert

On behalf of my team at YMCA Lincolnshire and the people we support, thank you for your generosity of spirit in 2020. I wish you a very happy, free and sensory filled 2021.

Caroline Killeavy joined YMCA Lincolnshire as Chief Executive Officer in January 2018. With over 25 senior leadership experience in the Charitable and Public sectors, Caroline is known for creating innovative social action opportunities: empowering and equipping people to make difference in their own community. Caroline lives in Lincoln with her partner and teenage daughter.