Welcome to the Town Chaplaincy

Autumn arrives and still Covid-19 is with us. Basingstoke has been suffering from the coronavirus itself less than in many places. People have caught it and, sadly, a few have died. But many more people are suffering in other ways.

The Chaplains have taken Government advice seriously but also wanted to be present in the town centre. Since June, when restrictions were partially lifted, Chaplains have been meeting people in the streets around the shopping centre, at the railway station and in Eastrop Park. In doing so we have met a number of people who have been able to talk about their concerns and fears. We don’t have a magic answer but often a burden shared is a burden halved as talking is an opportunity to think through issues; we may even be able to make suggestions for ways of resolving a problem.

Isolation is a big problem for many people. Some come to the town just to see other people walk by and Chaplains have interesting conversations with some of them. Many people, perhaps most of us, are frustrated at being unable to visit family members – the elderly and grandchildren.

We have met several people unable to get treatment for other medical conditions and some Chaplains are in that situation themselves. This often involves suffering pain and inability to manage everyday actions but can sometimes result in premature death. Basingstoke has experienced a higher than normal number of deaths in the first 7 months of this year. Being unable to access medical treatment may be found to be a significant cause of much of the increase.

Not being able to “get away from it all” on holiday does lead to additional stress and burnout. Stress at work, especially for carers and medical staff, is commonplace now as they have tried to keep themselves safe and been under pressure to do more for over 6 months now. They might have secure jobs, but job insecurity is a big worry for many workers in the town centre. Some shops have closed, and others are either under threat or cutting back on staff to reduce costs.

As Christians we believe that the creator God wants us to engage with Him. He is described as our heavenly Father who loves and cares for each of us, so if anyone would like us to pray for them, we are also happy to do so.

Under “Further Resources” there is a long list of agencies in the town that can be contacted for help with a wide range of issues. We do encourage people to seek help where it is best available for their situation. Help is available in strict confidence and we ensure confidentiality in our meeting with people. As the weather starts to get colder there are a number of agencies working with BDBC to provide shelter and support. Practical advice is offered by a number of agencies; help is at hand wherever needed!

Take precautions to stay safe. Keep others safe too.

John Hayward

October 2020

Covid-19 restrictions in Basingstoke & Deane