There are few people who have not been touched in some way by COVID-19 and three Merseyside businesses have been on hand to offer critical support during the pandemic. Tony McDonough reports
Since March 2020 all of our lives have been impacted in one way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was, of course, a huge public health crisis but the psychological impact on many people has also proved to be immense. Here are there Liverpool city region businesses that have worked through the pandemic to offer vital support in a number of ways:
Paint Point Coach
John Bullock is a former British kickboxing champion and he has taken the philosophies and practices from that discipline and developed a toolkit to help people deal with stress, confidence issues and managing change in their lives.
Under the branding of the Paint Point Coach, John delivers his methods via online courses, retreats and bespoke workshops which he holds for a number of companies and organisations including the British Army having recently delivered a workshop on finding flow.
Key to John’s approach is what he calls “flow”. He explained: “Flow is that universal feeling we get when we strike that perfect balance of focus. Time, distractions, and even hunger fade into the background and we are totally absorbed with the work in front of us.”
He talks about how people with particular skills and experience can make a task which may appear complex to the outside observer seem relatively easy. He added: “These skills become a programme in the subconscious mind. And when we perform them we are in a flow state.
“What I can do is help people build that flow into their everyday lives and allow people to find joy in what they do. I help them make changes and improvements and take them from the practice arena to the performance arena.”
John will guide people through a number of stages: reflection, resolving, resettling, refocus, evolving and into flow. In the workshops he gets people physically moving their limbs in a gentle way because, he says, “the body instructs the mind”.
His methods can help people to transform their daily lives both the work and personal arenas. He adds that the pandemic has thrown up new challenges for people who are looking to bring about change.
“Over the past couple of years people have experienced periods of isolation,” he explained. “Before the pandemic, if people wanted to deal with an issue, or bring about change in their lives, one way would be a change of scene or environment.
“Of course travel in recent times has been much more difficult. What my programmes can do is help create a space for people to make that transition in their lives without needing to travel. I firmly believe people find that invaluable.”
For social care charity Caring Connections the pandemic has accelerated its growth and digital transformation – but also brought huge challenges.
For 30 years the Knowsley-based organisation has provided home care support on behalf of local authorities in the Liverpool city region. It currently works in Liverpool and Ellesmere Port and is set to expand into Wigan in the next few weeks.
Its will put a care package into place for people coming out of hospital. Its critical input ensures hospitals are able to keep enough beds free for new patients.
However, chief executive Paul Growney believes social care urgently needs Government focus and needs to be better funded. He explained: “Despite the spotlight thrown on to our sector by the pandemic social care is still really undervalued.
“We have been named one of the top 100 employers in the UK. We have very high standards and we do a vital job in helping to move people out of hospital. Without that link hospitals would grind to a halt. We receive up to 200 referrals a day”
In the next few weeks Caring Connections will face a new challenge. Paul said: “During the pandemic we coped well in terms of maintaining staffing numbers but this has come under pressure in recent weeks with people having to isolate.
“And now we face a big problem with the Government mandate that all health and care sector workers are required to be fully vaccinated by April 1. That is going to impact on a number of our staff.”
The charity also provides a free counselling and bereavement support service that is free to the public. During lockdowns face-to-face sessions had to stop due to strict social distancing rules. However, what was initially seen as a problem was quickly turned into an advantage.
“We pivoted to offering sessions over the phone and that has worked really well,” said Paul. “We were sceptical at first but we actually found that people engaged a lot better – they were more likely to keep appointments.
“And we have invested more in digital systems that allow us to put together care packages and speed up discharges. The new contract we have won in Wigan is down to that and it is the first time we will be the lead provider.
“That is a massive step-up for us. It will take employee numbers from around 70 to up to 120 and we will be delivering over 10,000 care hours per month. It gives us a great platform to become one of the largest providers of social care in the North West.”
Codes of Consciousness
Kevin Morris was a lorry driver for almost 20 years but his life changed direction after he suffered losing people close to him and losing his business, followed by depression. In 2017 he experienced what he calls a “mass spiritual awaking”.
He became aware of Angelic Reiki Healing, a method of channelling angelic energy to bring calm and healing to people. Kevin qualified as a Reiki Master Teacher. He said: “I knew what it was like to suffer trauma and I wanted to use what I had learned to help other people through their own challenges.”
When COVID hit this impacted on Kevin’s growing business and he endured a relationship break-up. He then met qualified fitness trainer Lisa Marcella Dolan and the two hit it off instantly. Kevin explained: “She was like a big bright light – there was a definite soul connection between us.”
Also passionate about wellness, Lisa also became a qualified Angelic Reiki Master Teacher. The two moved in together. They set up a marquee in the back garden and Lisa held meditation classes, adhering to COVID restrictions. Kevin also continued to work with his clients.
In March last year they decided it made sense to pool their talents into a single business and Codes of Consciousness was born. Then a family member of Kevin’s bought a building in Prescot and asked them if they would like to lease it. It is here they have established a Healing Centre.
“Everything we do is a code to a higher level of consciousness, hence the name,” said Kevin. “We offer a range of services, Angelic Reiki, life coaching, meditation, workshops, health and fitness and nutrition. It is all about the mind, the body and the soul coming together.
“We must be seeing around 30 to 40 clients a week so over the past year or so we must have seen thousands of people. We have plans to set up a community interest company and that will see us deliver wellness workshops to businesses.”
In December 2021, Kevin saw the publication of his first book – Healers Aren’t Holy: From Jack the lad to Spiritual Healer. In the book, available on Amazon, Kevin charts his journey “from the unremarkable to the extraordinary”.
Lisa takes on clients to her own four-week wellness programme. She explained: “I don’t take on walk-in clients. I prefer to see people sign up to the full four-week programme. It is all about taking a holistic approach to health, fitness and wellness.
“They will do a wide range of things in those four weeks – fitness classes, yoga, breathing workshops, meditation. We will look at nutrition and help people put together a healthy eating plan. When the four weeks are up our clients feel absolutely amazing.”