Theatre director Stephen Unwin, father of Joey, a severely learning disabled Bishop’s Stortford resident, urges people to support St Elizabeth’s Centre during coronavirus pandemic

Stephen Unwin is a theatre director, author and campaigner for disabled small children. Below, he writes passionately about the incredible treatment his 23-yr-aged son Joey receives at the St Elizabeth’s Centre and why it desperately requirements our assist through the coronavirus crisis…

Strolling as a result of the streets of Bishop’s Stortford with my next son is ordinarily a delightful, frequently astonishing knowledge.

“Hey, Joey, how’re you accomplishing?” shopkeepers simply call out to him. “What can we get for you nowadays?”

Joey Unwin (32909142)
Joey Unwin (32909142)

Entire strangers greet him warmly and he offers them a superior 5, laughing and smiling as he goes on his way.

Mainly because, you see, I live in north London, but Joey has lived in Bishop’s Stortford for a even though now and is incredibly significantly portion of the community and, it appears to be, recognised where ever he goes.

But, of study course, these aren’t standard situations. We can no more time check out him, stroll as a result of the city to his favorite retailers, go out to lunch with him or stride out into the fantastic rolling Hertfordshire countryside.

Stephen Unwin with son Joey (33328622)
Stephen Unwin with son Joey (33328622)

My Joey is various from most 23-yr-olds. He has no speech, is seriously mastering disabled and suffers from intractable epilepsy.

He requirements spherical-the-clock assist with virtually all of the everyday things in existence: cooking, washing and medication.

He attended college and faculty at the internationally-renowned St Elizabeth’s Centre in Perry Green, in the vicinity of Substantially Hadham, and now life in supported residing, where by he’s appeared following by the treatment groups hooked up to St Elizabeth’s.

He is a vulnerable lad, but St Elizabeth’s has not just saved his existence, it can be given him a terrific existence. We are forever grateful.

Joey with his 11-year-old sister Bea (33328624)
Joey with his 11-yr-aged sister Bea (33328624)

When this awful coronavirus crisis very first appeared, my impulse was to pick Joey up and provide him property where by we could lie on the couch looking at limitless reruns of Monsters, Inc. until eventually the total ghastly issue had gone away. Useless to say, I failed to.

Whilst not becoming able to see him is dreadful, I know that he’s in the best location mainly because of the mixture of professionalism, kindness, very first-class administration and a deep ethical commitment that characterises every little thing about St Elizabeth’s and the unbelievable assistance that it supplies.

But the problem just isn’t effortless for Joey’s carers possibly. For a begin, even though most of us are stuck at property, they are continuing to change up to perform: they have to, mainly because people today like Joey cannot survive devoid of their assist.

Joey Unwin (32909146)
Joey Unwin (32909146)

They are becoming terribly very careful and utterly heroic, but the truth is that by virtue of the variety of people today he arrives into call with, I am safer from Covid-19 than Joey is at the minute.

For the St Elizabeth’s Centre to maintain giving its astonishing assistance for its many people, both in the city and at Perry Green, in this challenging time, it urgently requirements your assist.

Theatre director and writer Stephen Unwin (32909153)
Theatre director and author Stephen Unwin (32909153)

Gandhi declared that “a nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest users”, and the exact same could be mentioned about a city.

There are two ways that the good people today of Bishop’s Stortford and the bordering countryside can confirm by themselves, but once again, up to Gandhi’s terrific obstacle.

First, St Elizabeth’s urgently requirements people today to come and assist in this crisis: with their bodies, their minds and their hearts. Some of the typical treatment personnel are pretty rightly self-isolating, so the centre requirements other folks to assist out – and it requirements them now. You will get fast training and be compensated for your attempts. Do it, please. It’ll transform your existence, I can assurance you.

If you cannot assist in individual, give them some revenue. The centre depends on a total array of charitable functions which are, inevitably, dependent on communal activities, from sponsored parachute jumps to promoting apples, managing marathons to knitting hats, all of which have now, tragically, had to be stopped.

Can I beg you, then, from the security of your possess property, to dig deep and assistance the centre in its hour of need to have? We’re all struggling, I know, but just about anything you can give to assist would be hugely appreciated by so many.

Like all times of profound crisis, this brings out the best in people today – and the worst. This was vividly brought property to me when I rang Joey’s household the other day.

“Yeah, we’re all proper, we’re normally all proper – Joey’s laughing, so we need to be all proper,” was the fantastic, indomitable, reassuring reply. But the treatment manager’s account of the difficulties of having food items and other necessities mainly because of the conduct of far more fortuitous people today was a great deal a lot less coronary heart-warming, to put it mildly.

Please do whatever you can to assistance St Elizabeth’s so that when this total ghastly issue is around and you are going for walks as a result of the streets of stunning Bishop’s Stortford minding your possess business, a blond younger man with no terms but a dazzling, golden smile will come up to you and present a superior 5 to demonstrate his many thanks, his appreciation and his really like in the best way possible.

* For far more data about how to donate and how to implement for a career there, check out or simply call 01279 844409.

How you can assist St Elizabeth’s Centre as a result of these hard situations

A person of the largest employers in Hertfordshire, St Elizabeth’s Centre is just 1 of many charities dealing with hardship through the coronavirus crisis, writes its marketing and communications officer Jo Gill.

With all ten of our charity retailers closed, on prime of critical fundraising functions postponed or cancelled and most grant and trust programs suspended, it can be placing a big strain on fundraising finances.

At existing, we are established to drop all around £1.two million in fundraising earnings, creating uncertainty for our long run as a team.

We have introduced a new fundraising attractiveness on the web, informing supporters and followers how they can assistance the charity as a result of this challenging time.

Techniques include things like direct donations, shopping on the web by using Bishop’s Stortford-centered charity portal The Giving Equipment or Amazon Smile, as well as generating a ‘virtual visit’ to their charity retailers by using their charity eBay website page to snap up a bargain.

We have also put collectively a Covid-19-associated blog site entitled Rough Instances Web site, to which a variety of people today associated to the charity in various ways have contributed centered on what the present-day problem usually means for them.

But it can be not all get

St Elizabeth’s is currently advertising direct treatment and assistance employment to the nearby community and further than. Possibly you have been afflicted financially by Covid-19? Or just extravagant a job transform? With complete-time, portion-time and relaxed roles obtainable across early and late day and night shifts, there is a versatile role to accommodate anyone.

You really don’t need to have any knowledge in treatment, just a enthusiasm for people today and caring for the most vulnerable in our community. Total, rapidly-tracked training is furnished free of cost, with the opportunity to be performing across our residential location in just months.

For far more data, please check out or simply call 01279 844409.