Reflecting on 2020
2020 may have started out like any other year at LionHeart, but it certainly didn’t end that way.
When some of our staff set out to conferences and other events back in January and early February, networking with corporate partners and promoting LionHeart’s services to hundreds of surveyors, there was little inkling that all of our lives were about to change completely.
When the ‘work from home if you can’ directive was issued in the UK in March, LionHeart moved its whole operation online overnight - fortunately with no disruption in service to the surveyors we were already supporting.
Calls to our helpline increased sharply during those early weeks and months, as people faced uncertainty around their jobs and livelihoods. As well as the financial impact of job losses and business difficulties, people were also feeling anxious and fearful for the future, and often struggling with the huge change that had been brought about to their usual lives.
We saw applications for grants rise by 100% in the first three months of the coronavirus crisis, with some people telling us our help had enabled them to keep a roof over their family’s heads.
Over the course of 2020, calls to the LionHeart helpline increased by a quarter overall. Around 30% of all calls were directly due to the impact of Covid-19.
We paid out grants to RICS professionals spread all over the globe, many of whom fell victim to redundancy or saw their businesses decimated by the pandemic.
We also saw a rise in demand for our counselling and other emotional support services. Over 70% of those who called us were struggling to deal with stress and a fifth were really worried for their mental health.
As millions of us got used to working from home, we expanded our range of CPD webinars - all designed to support people’s wellbeing and personal development - as our face to face workshops had to be put on hold. Altogether, during 2020 we ran almost 200 different webinars which had record attendance, up 250% on last year.
LionHeart CEO Davina Goodchild said: “It has been the most difficult year worldwide for many people but I am so proud that our services have continued without a hitch. We’ve helped more people, and given them vital support at a time when it was so needed, making sure RICS professionals and their loved ones always had somewhere to turn.
“We always pride ourselves on being here for the RICS community no matter what life throws their way, but I think it’s fair to say that 2020 has been the strangest year in our history.”
We’d like to thank the RICS community and all our supporters, and wish you a merry Christmas as we look forward to continuing our work in 2021 - and maybe even seeing some of you in person!