Dear Coastal Kindness Team
I am writing to thank each and every one of you on the Coastal Kindness Team for your incredible kindness during 2020. When we started out on this year we had no idea that it was going to turn into an annus horribilis … when we started lockdown we had no idea that we would still be “locked up” at the end of the year … when we started Coastal Kindness we just had no idea!
We weren’t sure what to do or how to do it; we just knew that we had to do something with COVID-19 looming over us. It took several brainstorming meetings of a core group of individuals to plan, what, when, why and how we could be of use to our medics and of service to those in need in our community.
Coastal Kindness Strategy Group, you are a great bunch of brains, with so much experience and compassion; it’s been an honour to work with you all. I would especially like to thank Dr Barbara Matthews who has been an integral member of the strategy group: she has supported, focused and motivated us, and shared her wisdom without hesitation.
A “quick off the mark” achievement by the Education Team meant that anyone could access simple, easy to understand videos explaining COVID matters, from understanding the symptoms to breathing exercises in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. The Coastal Kindness videos and education posters have been used by volunteer groups throughout South Africa, and we understand, around the world. A big thank you to Debbie Park-Dobell and the education team.
The Track and Trace team lead by Carol Taggart has done a sterling job of supporting the overextended Department of Health in our area. They have not only carried out the track and trace programme required by law for this notifiable disease, but have also acted as a lifeline to many people in isolation or quarantine, ably supported, I need add, by Daphne McNeal and the Kenton Carers. Because of her understanding of the medical system and her inherent respect for healthcare workers, Carol has also managed to build a bond with the staff at Kenton Clinic in Ekuphumleni. The team is now welcomed and trusted and consequently able to offer assistance and support when required.
In order to report back effectively to the Department of Health on the progress of those in our area affected by COVID-19, Redmond Taggart has been collating and processing the Trace and Trace figures. Thank you, Redmond, for your meticulous records. To all the Track and Trace Team – you have done your community a great service.
It has been a particularly frightening and lonely year for many people. Some have lost their jobs, their confidence, as well as their income. Many have suffered the personal loss of loved ones and encountered physical problems, not just with COVID, but with injuries and accidents too. Many have become anxious and depressed. Our Emotional Support Team, expertly directed by Ruleen de Wit, has been able to offer counselling and mental health care to anyone in need. To augment the emotional support, Suzie Mann has coordinated the physical support team, Coastal Kindness Cares, offering someone to run an errand, change a gas bottle, drop-off some food or collect chronic medication for home delivery. She has a never-ending source of volunteers – to each and every one of you, thank you.
Ordering, purchasing, and maintaining the supplies and equipment bought by Coastal Kindness to assist Dr Galpin in saving lives, seemed like a “blue job”, so to Doug, Simon, Redmond, Eugene and Nic, thank you for your diligence and perseverance in making this work. To the O2 Team who at the drop of a hat, literally drop everything, to make sure that an oxygen bottle or concentrator is delivered to a patient, a huge thank you.
As with any performance, it’s all the people in the background that make the show go on! We have had the most tremendous support from so many individuals and groups. It would be remiss not to mention a few, so in no specific order, Rotary, Kenton Chamber of Business, KOSRA and Hospice, thank you for your kindness.
And to the editors, graphic designers, translators, bookkeepers, mask makers, outreach leaders, shop owners, sandwich makers, food suppliers, drivers, pharmacists, night watch, webmasters – to you all the biggest thank you. The combined effort of the whole team has greatly touched the lives of so many people in and around Kenton. A heartfelt thanks to every single one of you, no matter how large or small a part you have played and continue to play in this production.
And to the star of our show, Dr Eleanor Galpin – what would we do without you?
Keep safe and have the best Christmas you can. See you in 2021.