Annual Review 2020

2020: A  year when the Covid-19 pandemic caused a reassessment of our lives.  A year when Dublin Simon Community was at the frontline of this healthcare crisis, showing dedication and creativity in weathering this most difficult storm.

Despite the challenges of the year and together with the support of our donors, funders, staff and volunteers we helped more than 7,600 individuals across our services in Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare, Meath, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.

Please click below to read more about Dublin Simon’s impact in 2020.

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Annual Review At A Glance

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Stories from the Frontline

The uncertainty of the early days was very difficult, especially for our staff members from overseas.  None of us knew when they might get back to see family.  Keeping morale high was a huge challenge and ensuring that staff were getting enough downtime and rest so that they didn’t become overwhelmed. -NM

Client development adapted by offering remote and phone-based learning and skills training. But a large cohort was digitally excluded, either because they did not have the same access to the technology of because they lacked technological skills – we reached these people using activity packs which included positive affirmations and tools and techniques for mental health wellbeing from our Sure Steps Counselling service. – SK

Client’s overall health had improved and they were stabilising their drug use and trusting our staff, so they were able to really enjoy Christmas. I remember one client saying to me: “this is the first time that I have ever decorated a tree.” On Christmas morning another said to be, I feel so normal, this is what it feels like to be normal.” It was such a magical Christmas for us and for our clients. NM

Having resilient staff and adaptability is what overcame some of the obstacles, it was very challenging but everyone really came together as a team and adapted to the changes. – SK

Covid-19 evoked a lot of anxiety for clients, particularly in the early stages. People were unable to meet a counsellor face-to-face and virtual meetings did not work for everyone. Sure Steps Counselling was amongst the first counselling service to reopen for face-to-face engagement in May 2020 and the team was full of hope and a sense of fulfilment at being able to meet clients again.– DD

We were continuously busy, but the continuous and unwavering support and motivation of our colleagues got us through it. – LC

The period between Christmas and New Year was a particularly challenging time due to the increase in restrictions. This can be an emotive time for clients anyway, and the sudden increase in restrictions made things very difficult for clients and staff alike. – TW

Covid gave our team more opportunities than ever before to have meaningful interactions, give more support and participate in more activities within the service to help to boost client morale. – LC

I felt proud to be part of Dublin Simon Community due to the response to the pandemic. I believe the organisation took an excellent lead on this which enabled me to provide the same leadership to my teams. – SK

Mental health has definitely been the most pronounced impact, not just on clients but wider society. Also the sudden drive towards online and phone engagement had a big impact. Clients value face-to-face work so it was very challenging for them to link in with the services they attend during lockdown. – TH

I think it’s amazing how quickly we responded to Covid – we developed and rolled out a robust Covid prevention policy so soon after the pandemic hit. Communication around Covid, updates, changes and supports has been really strong. The way we have adapted and continued service provision, albeit often virtually, is something to be very proud of. – TW

Some clients reported to us that for the first time since they became homeless that they felt the same as everyone else because Covid-19 didn’t discriminate it affected everyone, regardless of social status. – DD

It was very challenging for clients who were unable to visit loved ones due to restrictions. One client could not visit his son in hospital and this was very frustrating. For others boredom set in and those with addiction issues really struggled during lockdown. – HH

It was definitely a time of coming together, building trustful relationships, sharing anxieties, issues and concerns, supporting each other through bad days. – HH

While 2020 was a very challenging year for the service, I look back and can see the many positives that occurred along with the challenges the pandemic threw at us. The service had its best year ever for clients move-ons and the team have really pulled together. – TH

Everyone, individually and collectively showed incredible courage in 2020. People stepped into the unknown landscape and put clients first. People responded to the call to leady by example. Amazing work and very humbling to see the power of the collective in Dublin Simon Community. – WC