Pilgrim Gardens is our independent living housing scheme in Leicester. Mandy Smith, Scheme Manager, shares how life has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic

Without a doubt the coronavirus has had an impact on everyone at Pilgrim Gardens, but the impact has been as individual as each of those who live here. For some, underlying conditions have caused a great deal of caution, resulting in immediate isolation for their own protection; for others, although being sensible, they are less cautious and allow themselves daily exercise and conversations with other residents, while remaining ‘socially distant’.

There are two main challenges here, the first being the inability to enjoy fellowship with other believers, especially on a Sunday in their individual churches, but also during the week at Pilgrim Gardens’ morning devotions; the second being the inability to see family. Other challenges include cancelled social events, being unable to travel, being unable to plan ahead, and the feeling of being cut off - heightening loneliness and concerns about mental health.

Although we are experiencing difficulties and challenges, God is good and provides us with many encouragements to keep our focus on Him. Here are some words from some of those living at Pilgrim Gardens:

"Very much I thank the Lord for the lovely gardens to walk in…the lovely weather…Pilgrim Gardens neighbours have been so kind." – Margaret

"I firmly believe that God has been with me and provided for all my needs." – Lesley

"It is the most wonderful place to live in, we see and wave and chat to people going past the window." –  Jill

The local churches have also been a great support during these difficult times by putting on Zoom meetings and streaming services on YouTube for those who can access them, dropping off CDs and DVDs for those who can’t, and coming to perform live worship in the sunshine for everyone to listen and worship to, while socially distancing. Church contacts are also helping in practical ways where they can.

A friend has been available to bring (grocery shopping) items and things from the pharmacy. – Lesley

As a community of Christians, we are also helping and encouraging each other where we can by providing socially distant company and phone calls for those who need a chat. Unfortunately, even though it seems like the world has stopped, residents’ spouses are still dying, and their children are still being diagnosed with cancer. These are always tragic circumstances but not being able to hug those you love, make them even more difficult.

Contact by telephone to special friends has helped with my grieving and sadness as I have recently lost my Brian after 58 years of a wonderful marriage. – Fay

Listening to Pat playing her piano is a delight each morning. – Jill

Residents are still lonely, still worried about their mental health, still grieving, but we do all we can at Pilgrim Gardens to comfort in these times. Thank you so much for your prayers.

For continued prayer...

  • Please pray for the staff and carers who visit the scheme, that they can sense the joy and freedom that we have in this place

  • Please pray for those whose loneliness is heightened by the current situation, please pray for friendships within the scheme and from local churches

  • Many of the residents here have a desire to see the current situation bring Britain ‘to its knees’ in prayer. Please pray for our leadership and our nation

Across our homes and housing schemes, staff are working hard to support those living there. Find out how our Evington Home is keeping community connections alive