Submitted by nick.gazard on Thu, 11/18/2021 - 15:46

Clergy Support Trust is offering a wide range of help for clergy and their families living with Long-Covid.

The support is in response to emerging needs of clergy living with the condition. Some are finding they need to reduce their hours or are unable to carry out their ministry altogether. Others are experiencing physical and mental health difficulties or finding their health is affecting their relationships.

Clergy Support Trust can provide funding for things like:

  • Maintaining independent living, such as help around the house or other tasks.
  • Grants towards larger than usual energy bills if people are spending more time recovering at home
  • Mobility aids or other assistive equipment
  • Rest or recuperation through a holiday, retreat, or a respite break

The Revd Prebendary Dr Isabelle Hamley, Secretary for Theology and Ecumenical Relations and Theological Adviser to the House of Bishops for the Church of England, developed severe Covid just before the first lockdown. 20 months on she is still living with lasting health effects.  

Isabelle said:

“After six months of sick leave my recovery has been very patchy. As Covid is such a new illness it’s hard to get treatment, and no-one can really explain the symptoms, or whether it might get better, there’s so much uncertainty, which I think makes it worse.

“Trying to recover, home school during the lockdowns and juggling everything was just a nightmare. Since being back at work the long hours, which I would do before Covid are simply not possible.  

“I’m heartened that Clergy Support Trust is able to offer funding for practical help for others who are struggling, with things like cleaning, a holiday or a retreat.”

A Clergy Support Trust partnership with The OT Practice can provide occupational therapy assessments to assess mental and physical needs brought about by Long-Covid, as well as suggest potential coping strategies.  

Clergy Support Trust also has help available through its grants programme including:

Sarah Crombie, Director of Charitable Services at Clergy Support Trust said:

“Clergy families living with Long-Covid are telling us it is affecting their ability to carry out their day-to-day ministry and work, potentially affecting their income.  

“We are also seeing people coming forward with physical and mental health issues due to Long-Covid, ranging from extreme fatigue to breathlessness, joint pain or difficulty concentrating for a sustained period.”

If Long-Covid has placed a strain on personal finances, then financial support grants may be available for those who are eligible. In some circumstances, Clergy Support Trust is also able to consider support towards alleviating debt. People should contact the Trust to discuss how it may be able to help through working with Churches Mutual Credit Union (CMCU) and StepChange Debt Charity.

For people struggling with relationships due to Long-Covid, for example, if someone has needed to become a carer or be cared for, then Clergy Support Trust can also provide counselling through a partnership with JR Corporate Health.