Do check the latest information from the Methodist Church - https://www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/news/latest-news/all-news/the-methodist-church-coronavirus-guidance-and-resources/ It is being updated regularly.
We have many Intergenerational groups in the District. Many of you are thinking about whether they should still run. Here are some things that we would recommend you think about as you make decisions for your particular context:
Think carefully about your volunteer/staff team – how many people do you need to safely make an event happen? If in doubt have a look at the Safeguarding guidelines. The Government advice is that those who have a new and persistent cough or a temperature are being asked to self-isolate at home for 7 days whilst those with underlying health conditions and older people may choose to self-isolate.
Think about the following -
- the best way to protect others is for everyone to use universal good hygiene. Display the public information poster- https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/resources/posters/en/
- encourage parents/carers/children to wash hands before snack/meal time
- if you don’t have access to running water or hand sanitiser, use a thermos flask of hot water, individual bowls and paper towels which should be thrown away immediately after use. Please note that wet-wipes are not a suitable alternative, as they are not effective in killing or removing viruses
- make sure you wash/anti-bac toys on a weekly basis, consider reducing the number of toys you put out each week
- have tissues available for coughs and sneezes (and bins to put them in).
- Think carefully about your refreshments – don’t have multiple people touching mugs, utensils and food stuffs. Only one person should be responsible for touching/handing out mugs, utensils and foodstuffs. They should regularly wash their hands/wear disposable gloves.
- Do remove the communal biscuit plate.
- If you serve a meal as part of your activity, particularly Messy Church, consider how you will do this, or consider removing this element for your next Messy Church but still gather. If you do do this, don't forget to let people know in advance.
For a great resource for those working with children to explain what is happening and why some things seem a little different have a look at - https://theadditionalneedsblogfather.com/2020/03/11/coronavirus/
If you feel that it's right to cancel/postpone your activity, think carefully about how you can pastorally and spiritually support your families – the Messy Church team have some good, ready to go images, to help with this. Can you use emails, social media or the internet to help people stay in touch and feel less isolated at a worrying time? Can you suggest a YouTube clip that they can watch? Perhaps create a music playlist on Spotify, Google Music or whichever platform you use. Show a Pinterest page with some craft ideas on it. Maybe a TakeTime devotion for people to use.
Many communities are setting up facebook groups to enable locals to offer or request support – how can the church get involved in supporting this? Think about how you can care for those in your community who are ill or self-isolating and how you can support them. Have you got a local community facebook group?
The Messy Church organisation have advice here: