January 2021 update: Our charity’s income was dealt yet another blow when we had to close the doors of Landmarks yet again and cancel customers’ bookings until mid-February. Unfortunately we have therefore temporarily furloughed all British housekeepers to save costs. As such, we're sorry to report that it won't operationally be feasible to open our buildings up to NHS workers during these difficult days.
National lockdown 1.0
As soon as lockdown began on 23 March 2020, we offered our buildings as emergency accommodation to NHS critical workers. We helped frontline doctors, nurses and other NHS staff who’ve needed accommodation at short notice when they were re-assigned or relocated across Britain during the pandemic, or to self-isolate to protect vulnerable family members to carry on working, or as a base for subcontractors undertaking essential services.
As lockdown lifted, the scheme came to an end and from July 2020 we reopened our holiday business in order to survive as a charity ourselves.
We share some of the feedback from the NHS staff we helped below, including a blog from a doctor about his temporary Landmark.
Clinical psychologist working on a dementia ward, isolating to shield a vulnerable relative, on her first morning in a Landmark.
'I had the best night's sleep ever at [Wilmington Priory] and feel completely refreshed and regenerated by the incredible generosity of the Landmark Trust already. It was fantastic to sit outside listening to birdsong whilst enjoying my coffee and boiled eggs this morning. My whole team is benefitting from my Landmark Trust stay because the stress of not knowing where I would be moving to next has been taking its toll on me and, as the ward psychologist, staff support is almost as essential as patient and carer support in my work. Today my colleagues and I are literally singing our way through the early shift and all our patients are benefitting from my rejuvenating night in Wilmington too since they join in with the singing too!'
Logbook entry left by a paediatric consultant during deployment to Birmingham from London:
'Although these are dark days, the hardest of my career, this stay at Lengthsman’s Cottage has given me peace and solace. Being surrounded by nature and seeing new life springing forth everywhere you look has reminded me of the beauty that exists in the world. More than anything, I am humbled by the support that I and the NHS have received, I will be eternally grateful to the Landmark Trust & I am looking forward to returning here with my family in happier times. Lengthsman’s Cottage and the Landmark Trust will always hold a special place in my heart & I hope you also find the same peace & happiness in this special place.'
A doctor staying in a Landmark close to their temporary post at a Sussex hospital:
'In 2019, if you had said to me that I would soon be living in a 16th century tower whilst working during a global pandemic, I would have told you to go back to bed. However, in 2020 I found myself working in hospital during Covid-19 far away from home with nowhere to stay. Hospital accommodation was full and I was unable to find suitable alternatives. This was not a great position to be in as I wished to continue working as a doctor in hospital. I saw that the Landmark Trust were one of a very small number of organisations providing accommodation for NHS staff and they were very quick to find somewhere for me. It turned out to be in a beautiful tower and it was a much needed change of scenery from the hospital. I felt my mental wellbeing improve as soon as I moved in. When I came back from work, I spent my time reading, watching the sunset and nature around me. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity provided by the Landmark Trust. They are one of very few organisations who stayed open for NHS staff and I must commend them for this. I wish them all the best for the future and hope they manage to stay open during these difficult times.'
Senior house officer assigned to an emergency ward in Somerset from an NHS trust in Middlesex:
‘Thank you so much for getting this sorted so quickly, it's a great relief to have found somewhere to stay. I wanted to express how wonderful it's been staying at this Landmark; it's a beautiful building and quite unlike anything I've ever stayed in before. It's undoubtedly made this stressful time much more manageable. I will long treasure memories of cosy evenings reading by the fire and listening to birds in the garden.'
Dr Sally Manley
Critical workers supporting mortuary provision in London:
‘Thank you so much for arranging this at such short notice. It’s a relief to know we have somewhere to call home for the coming weeks.’
Paramedic/advanced clinical practitioner in the emergency department at Northampton General Hospital who has temporarily moved out of his family home because his daughter is immunosuppressed and the work that he is doing would put her at risk:
‘It’s nice because there’s no internet here, no TV, no interference. Working on the front line, you are part of the news, you want to switch off from it. The nice thing about here is that I am a mile from anywhere else. This is probably the best place I have ever stayed.’
Paramedic Aiden Pettet
Specialist disability nurse posted from Kent to Oxfordshire:
'Thank you so much Landmark Trust for allowing me to stay in one of your buildings during the lockdown. As a specialist nurse, my skills were needed 80 miles away from my home and you have given me the reassurance and peace of mind that I can safely undertake my job, where I am needed without worrying about where to stay. This offer of accommodation has allowed me to continue helping those most in need during this crisis!'
Consultant otherwise faced with a two-hour commute:
‘I am so grateful to you all at the Landmark Trust; I am completely humbled by the generosity you have all shown. I really hope to return to the cottage with my family in happier times.’
Husband and wife / GP and nurse needing to isolate to carry on working without risking infecting an elderly parent:
'Thank you so much Landmark Trust, what you're doing is incredible. We've loved staying in your properties in the past. This is a life saver for us. You shut the castle gates and it feels like complete isolation. You’re away from everything else. This morning I sat outside on the curtain wall watching the rabbits and birds, and the light coming through the trees. It’s medicine for the mind.’
Dr Oliver and Nurse Berni Young
NHS hospital nurse transferred to working with COVID19 patients in the community:
‘Thank you so so much! It is absolutely beautiful and truly unique! Thank you for all of your effort to find me somewhere suitable… you went above and beyond and this has made such a difference to me, knowing that I have somewhere nice to come back to after a long day (or night as it might be!) I am confident I will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to help in the fight against COVID19!’
Doctor who has graduated early from medical school to start working as a doctor at South Tees NHS Foundation trust:
'The Landmark Trust’s offer to stay in The Pigsty really has made my transition to work a great deal more manageable, and I am very grateful to them for this.' Read the rest of this blog here.
We are very grateful to local communities for welcoming our NHS guests. To reassure customers and colleagues, the NHS stays are being planned to complete in good time before we re-open Landmarks for holidays, allowing us to follow the very latest Government guidance on safety measures in addition to our usual rigorous cleaning practices.