Café could be set up in east London to deal with long-Covid
- Credit: St Margaret's House
A Covid café could soon be set up to help hundreds of people in the East End recover from the long-term effects of the pandemic.
The St Margaret’s House charity next to Bethnal Green’s York Hall has been given £47,000 by the Thriving Communities Fund to connect sufferers of long-Covid to arts and creative activities as part of a nationwide recovery programme.
Activities planned include Covid cafés, yoga, walks, wellness workshops, woodwork, legal advice and talks to address issues of mental health and physical wellbeing.
One group involved in the project is Spare Tyre community theatre, whose artistic director Rebecca Manson Jones is one of the one-in-10 people who have had Covid and are still suffering long-term effects.
“I never dreamed when I got Covid this time last year that I’d still be struggling to get out of bed,” she revealed. “I am often finding it hard to summon energy, one year on.
“The Covid café is a supporting environment to share experiences and develop personal solutions.
“There are thousands like me who had Covid and still have symptoms as well as people with other syndromes who have also been left to manage without support."
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An estimated 300 people in Tower Hamlets alone are said to be suffering long-term effects of Covid.
St Margaret’s House wellbeing manager Shaka Lish said on news of receiving the Thriving Communities Fund money: “Now we’ll be able to run a creative programme which is important because of the significant impact on people’s mental health through being in lockdown.”
The fund is helping 37 projects up and down the country, including St Margaret’s House, in partnership with the NHS, Arts Council, Historic England, Sport England, the Money & Pensions Service and NHS charities.
The project works with the Tower Hamlets GP Care group and the local authority's community volunteer service to help improve the resilience of communities that have been hit by lockdowns and to refer people to non-clinical services for their wellbeing.
Common symptoms of long-Covid are listed by the NHS as extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, brain fog, insomnia, heart palpitations, dizziness
pins and needles, joint pain, depression and anxiety, tinnitus, earaches, feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite, a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste and rashes.
Find out more at https://www.stmargaretshouse.org.uk/