Message from President, CSF Sud-de-France, 23rd March 2020

Good afternoon, 
 
I hope that you are all safe and well in your own homes, and trying to make the best of what is, and is likely to continue to be, an increasingly difficult situation for us all.  At the present time, all CSF Sud organised events and gatherings due to be held before the end of April have been cancelled, and I would expect these cancellations to continue - please keep an eye on our CSF Sud de France Facebook page, or contact your departmental representative, for the latest information.
 
I fully recognise that our activities on behalf of our clients, and the Association more generally, are also incredibly important to the general well-being of many of us, as members.  We take the opportunity to meet old and new friends, to enjoy the ambiance that an Anglophone based gathering can generate, and it gets us out of the house to be sociable as well as 'useful'.  All of these personal benefits are unavailable to us for the moment, and I, and my colleagues on our CSF Sud Conseil, understand that it will, perhaps in time, put additional strain and pressure on us all as individuals.
 
It is for these reasons that we in CSF Sud de France have decided to concentrate our support during the COVID-19 epidemic on two groups, our clients, and our members.  Our Active Listeners are stepping up contact with their clients more pro-actively, to ensure that they are receiving as much emotional and practical support as they need.  Secondly, Denise (Tarn & Tarn et Garonne), Maggie (PO), and Pam (Aude & Ariege), our Departmental representatives, have asked for volunteers from our wider membership - not just Active Listeners - to be available to contact regularly any member who feels the need to be supported, and feel less alone, during these long periods of self-isolation.  I am warmed, but not surprised, by the many ordinary members and mutual support groups that have volunteered, and I thank you all for caring about our fellow members. As time goes on, this need is likely to become greater, so it is comforting to know that we have a significant group of volunteers waiting to help.
 
Whilst we in CSF Sud de France have decided to concentrate our support on our clients and fellow members, many of you will be aware that other Associations have decided to join with CSF National, in offering a support service to Anglophones in France isolated as a result of the COVID-19 virus.  I'm attaching the CSF National Facebook announcement, and I understand it is appearing in the Connexion online newspaper too.  A number of other CSF Associations, with spare Active Listener capacity, have volunteered to get involved in this national initiative.
 
Despite our Association deciding to focus on our cancer clients and our members, if there are Active Listeners (only) who would like to volunteer to help with the national COVID-19 support initiative, please contact Penny Parkinson by email - sud-penny@cancersupportfrance.org - and she will arrange for you to be added into the volunteer list via the Helpline.  At this very early stage, we have no idea of the number of non-cancer clients likely to contact the helpline, but, once again, it would be very helpful to know that we have a large pool of volunteer ALs available, should the need arise.
 
Finally, on a practical note, the French government has updated the attestation that we all need to complete if we want to leave our homes. A version in French and English is available here: https://www.gouvernement.fr/en/coronavirus-covid-19
 
Please stay safe and well, and if anyone has any other suggestions about how we can help each other through this emergency, I'd be pleased to hear from you.
 
Kind Regards,
Phil
 
 
Phil Mercer
President, Cancer Support France (CSF) Sud de France
(Ariège, Aude, Pyrénées-Orientales, Tarn, Tarn et Garonne)
1 Chemin de la Font Grande
11250 Montclar
 
 
Helpline: 0800 240 200