People with learning disabilities and autism are particularly vulnerable in this pandemic. The changes to routine are causing heightened anxiety, people are feeling isolated and are struggling to understand what they can safely do and when.
Despite having restricted access to our community hub buildings due to Covid-19, our Day Opportunities team have had to find a way to creatively support over 220 people who normally attend the hubs on a regular basis. This funding is helping us to revamp our Day Opportunities and deliver a constantly changing service. It will help us to adapt our support as the environment around us continues to change and the pandemic develops.
The community hub teams are currently supporting people who normally attend our hubs by:
- Assisting 1-2-1 with socially distanced activities so people can leave their home in a safe way.
- Making 1-2-1 phone and video calls to people who are feeling anxious, upset or worried so they can access essential support at the most difficult and unpredictable of times – a lifeline for many.
- Supporting 24 people who are particularly vulnerable due to complex needs, mental health issues and/or isolation. (Now taking place safely in our buildings as much as possible.)
- Providing a timetable of online activities so people can keep in contact with their community hub friends and staff in a fun, safe and easily-accessed way – 50 people are taking part in online activities.
- Offering 1-2-1 and small group outdoor activities, including walks and day trips so people can have some level of normality and enjoy activities outside of their homes with friends where safe to do so.
- Helping people take part in engaging activities, including our Miles & Smiles challenge and StoryFest so they can keep up motivation levels – this is becoming even more important as the pandemic continues.
- Assisting the wider supported living service with fun, motivational activities, online activities and Speech & Language Therapy / communication needs.
- Offering small group and 1-2-1 activity sessions in our community hub buildings as much as possible.
As things progress, longer term consequences to people’s wellbeing are becoming apparent. The support of our Day Opportunities and our Ways to Wellness programme is becoming even more essential in helping people both physically and mentally. This money will help us invest to ensure we are continuing to support people with a high-quality service throughout the winter months.
At the same time, we have needed to purchase a large stock of PPE for our Day Opportunities, which we have never previously needed to do. The funding has also helped with the additional cost for this equipment.
Like many venues, the Style Acre Tea Room is so reliant on outdoor space and good weather to help sustain income at the moment due to social distancing measures. The outdoor space is lovely in summer but on cold, wet days in autumn and winter, it is not so appealing. With limited space inside, our Tea Room team were worried about the upcoming challenges as the seasons change.
After chatting with Tea Room Manager Tracy, customers Jess and Caroline wanted to help secure enough funds to find a solution. We have to say a huge thank you to both Jess and Caroline for creating and championing the Crowdfunder for the Tea Room. The money raised will help to secure additional weatherproof outdoor seating space.
£3890 has been raised through the Crowdfunder itself. Thank you to everyone who donated. We also have to say a big thank you to an anonymous supporter who kindly donated £2,000 offline to enable us to push above the £5000 target!
The Style Acre Tea Room is one of our social enterprises; it enables people with learning disabilities and autism to gain valuable work experience, skills and confidence. It is often a first stepping stone into work for the people we support in our Work Programme.
Lots of the people we support have been enjoying everything Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows – including Mad Hatter’s tea parties, river scavenger hunts and picnics by the river, making tasty Queen of Hearts jam tarts and lots of fun craft activities. As well as reading the Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows stories (or watching the films). Here are some of our highlights! To join in or find out more, check out the StoryFest event page.