Covid-19 is continuing to impact different people in very different ways and while for some it may be a short-term illness, for others it’s led to ongoing symptoms that seriously impact their day-to-day lives.
Having seen many of our beneficiaries sadly experiencing these longer-term symptoms, we introduced a Covid Recovery Programme last year which has proved a huge success at our centres – and that’s all thanks to your regular donations.
The Covid Recovery Programme is designed for those who are still experiencing ongoing symptoms 12 weeks or more after an initial infection.
The programme is a combination of online sessions and a 5-day residential programme, tailored around your individual needs. It includes a range of educational sessions and activity-based workshops including breathing techniques, fatigue management, coping strategies and exercise-based sessions, while giving you the opportunity to connect with others experiencing similar challenges.
But none of this would be possible without your regular donations.
So, if you are able, we’d hugely appreciate your ongoing donations to ensure we can continue offering this support to people just like Dan, Melanie and Beverley – among many others…
Dan: “It’s validated the experience I’ve gone through”
Dan Coward, a retained firefighter with Hereford and Worcester FRS, attended the programme in 2021 after first getting Covid-19 in March 2020. He has been dealing with the aftermath of it ever since.
He says: “My initial infection was horrendous, it was very much not knowing if you’re going to wake up the next day – terrifying, Then after that it came in waves.”
Dan initially dealt with the virus at home, as hospitals were so packed, but as he got progressively worse he later spent a short stint in hospital in the July, as his weight plummeted.
“At that point my wife and I had to go and live with my parents for a while, because I just couldn’t do anything,” he adds. “We’d just had our son as well and I couldn’t really do normal things. Things have definitely got better since I was in hospital, but when it came to 2021, I overdid it a little at Christmas and I paid the price in January. I got very low and I did reach out to the Brigade at that point.
“Coming on this course has been reassuring, it validates in some ways the experience I’ve gone through. As a retained firefighter, when you’re off sick, you’re not a bum on a seat. You’re just taking up a space that they can’t fill. I felt like a fraud for a long time, so that was hard.”
Melanie: “I don’t feel alone with it anymore”
Melanie Davis, an on-call firefighter with Devon and Somerset FRS, has struggled with severe fatigue since contracting Covid-19 – meaning she’s been forced to spend a lot of time off the run.
She says: “Fortunately I wasn’t hospitalised, but it was a really awful virus, It was a good two weeks of being almost bed-ridden. I assumed I’d get better soon after, especially when my energy started picking up, but then I got knocked back.
“Mostly for me I suffer with fatigue. I’ll be really wiped out if I manage to get up and take the dog out or something, I’ll be back in bed in a day. And that could last a couple of weeks.
“It was someone in the fire service that rung me about this Covid Recovery Programme and asked me if I’d want someone to give me a call about it. It’s been great. We’ve done talks on things like nutrition, anxiety, exercise, and one of the big benefits has been talking to the people here and hearing their experiences – similarities and differences they’ve had.
“To have this opportunity is amazing, really amazing. It’s not feeling alone with it anymore.”
Beverley: “I’d have bitten somebody’s hand off for this, it was a lifeline”
Beverley Woodman has spent more than 28 years working in Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service’s Control Room, but it was only in recent years that she saw first-hand how much support was on offer to her thanks to your donations.
She sadly contracted Covid-19 in April 2020 and it led to more than a year of difficulties, as her symptoms continued. She says she finally found the support she needed through our Covid Recovery Programme.
“I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, am I ever going to get better or is this it?” says Beverley. “Luckily I could work through it, because the majority of the time I was working from home. If it was normal circumstances, I would have been sick because I wouldn’t have been able to go in every day.
“That’s when I heard about your Covid Recovery Programme. It was the pilot at that point, so I was there on the first week. I’d have bitten somebody’s hand off for something like this, it was a lifeline for me.
“It absolutely made such a tremendous difference because I felt we were in a group where everyone was in the same position. It was very reassuring meeting other people who’ve been through the same – I didn’t know anyone else that’s got it before.
“The support from everyone there was absolutely amazing and they gave us all the toolkits we needed. It all benefitted me in some way, whether it’s your mental health or physical. One of the most important things I learnt was about pacing myself.”
Please donate now to ensure we can be there for more people like Dan, Melanie and Beverley when they’re most in need:
If you would like more information about the symptoms of Long Covid, please visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ and if our programme is something that interests you, please contact us on 0800 3898820 to see how we could support you.