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Keeping vital contacts

Corona virus measures: Actions of the Order of Malta in Britain

London, 25 March 2020

The Order in Britain has had to curtail its activities to support the lonely, the elderly, the homeless, following government guidelines and respecting the health and well being of those they aid, of their their staff and their volunteers. The soup kitchens (3 in London, 1 in Colchester) are closed; the care Homes (70) have restricted visits; the London tea parties (bi-monthly) are suspended. The Order is putting in place programmes in support of those in need.

The Order of Malta is providing special funds to care for the elderly people in their care and for the staff who look after them.

In England:

The Orders of St John Care Trust runs 70 Homes in 4 counties, where 4000 staff care for 3500 residents. The Homes are regularly visited by around 600 volunteers. Now, following the Government’s measures, the residents cannot leave their Homes and visiting is very restricted. To keep contacts going, the Order of Malta is donating towards the provision of iPads for use by residents, so that they can communicate visually with their families and doctors, whilst they cannot leave the Homes.

In Scotland:
The Order of Malta Dial-a-Journey Trust in central Scotland provides transport for the elderly and housebound, taking them to medical appointments, and to shopping outlets and community activities. So that this valuable social and community service does not diminish as a direct result of the current impediments on mobility due to Coronavirus, the Order is providing an additional donation to the work of the Trust.

Soup kitchens: closed until the Government’s position has changed and it is safe to resume them.
Tea parties for the elderly: cannot be scheduled until the Government’s position has changed and it is safe to resume them.

Other activities: last week, 230 plants were delivered to care homes in London; letters containing a pen, key fob and card were delivered to the 70 guests who attend the Order’s regular tea parties for the elderly; Easter cards will be sent to as many of the elderly guests as possible, in London and in the 70 Orders of St John Care Trust Homes.

In addition, the Companions of the Order of Malta (the Order’s auxiliary organisation) have set up a ‘Call Companions’ programme to assist wherever possible the elderly, the pilgrims the Order members and volunteers accompany to Lourdes every year, those in the care Homes and anyone – including Companions and members of the Order – who requires assistance during this period.  

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The mission of the Order of Malta is inspired by its tradition of ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum', to assist the poor and the sick, and bear witness to the Christian faith.


The Sovereign Order of Malta is a sovereign subject of international law. The Order - which is based in Rome, in via Condotti - has its own Government, an independent magistracy, and bilateral diplomatic relations with 110 countries.


The Order of St John of Jerusalem is one of the oldest institutions of Western and Christian civilisation. Present in Palestine in around 1048, it is a lay religious Order, traditionally of military, chivalrous, noble nature.