When the Government introduced stricter social distancing measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus, we knew our service would have to make changes in our approach to supporting our customers. Our customers have a variety of support needs, some with high level autism, and we knew that these enforcements would create a lot of uncertainty and anxiety.
For the first couple of days, a couple of our customers insisted on going outside. This concerned our staff as they were not convinced that they would follow, or fully understand, correct social distancing measures. When we tell our customers they cannot do something, often they lean towards doing the opposite, so we knew we had to get creative! We have now turned social distancing measures into a game, encouraging customers to stay two meters apart. They have also enjoyed ‘dressing up’ in the protective masks and gloves when going shopping.
A lot of our customers’ regular activities have unfortunately been cancelled, so we’ve had to improvise and bring a lot of things in house. We have created what we call a ‘holistic village’ in the service filled with activities for them to engage with. We have sports activities every day in the gardens, as well as music sessions and movie viewings. They have enjoyed learning to play the guitar and piano, and following daily exercise routines that are available on social media. A member of our staff is also a DJ, so has brought in his equipment and put on weekly discos in place of the community event that has been cancelled.
The community support we have received has been amazing. We’ve had donations of sporting equipment including goalposts and basketball net, a snooker table, guitars and a keyboard, as well as food. Vulnerable people need the support in these difficult times and we really appreciate the community’s help, it makes such a difference.
It’s so good to see our staff bring their unique skills to support our customers in an innovative way. We’ve all been able to quickly adapt to the circumstances, giving the customers a consistent service and reduce the anxiety the Coronavirus situation can bring. Who would have thought social distancing could be so fun!
Donations go a long way to helping our customers during these challenging times. To find out how you can help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org