Well what a challenging year. That feels like quite an understatement. Challenging is certainly one description.Our charity Buzz Hub St Helens CDP provides activity and opportunities to young people and adults who have a learning disability. We closed the service on March 23rd. The feelings were of complete and utter devastation. Our services are vibrant, creative and most of all fun! The day after the lockdown announcement we were sat at our base at Nuttall House in complete silence.With lingering uncertainty, our challenge was to do everything in our power to reconnect with our members.
Our regular telephone contacts were highlighting the growing difficulties being experienced by our members. Lack of routine and with no particular reason to get dressed in a morning. Anxiety and for some members a growing isolation were prevalent over this time.
The GOOD NEWS STORY starts at our discovery of the Facebook portal. The portal is a device witha remote camera. We invested in some portals and delivered them to a group of members. We undertook a test with seven members together on screen. They had not had contact with each other for weeks. The test lasted over two and a half hours. They were so reluctant to leave the screen. It proved to be a turning point. We invested in the purchase of more devices. We had a kind donation and received some funding to purchase more. We rolled them out to both members and session facilitators.
We Currently have over 70 devices distributed!
I would like to pay tribute to our staff team as they have been and continue to be magnificent over this time. We got to a point early on where we were delivering over 140 sessions remotely. The sessions as best we can mirror the activity menu of choice available prior to lockdown. In some cases the activity was secondary. The fact that members and staff were reconnecting was the complete joy. Our evening social portal activities are extremely popular. We have game shows, bingo, quiz nights, music and Karaoke. Feedback has been amazing with parents and carers regularly joining in with the activity. As we plan to phase members return to service and activity the portals will allow members shielding to be a part of activity taking place from the safety of their own home.
It cannot be underestimated the value and impact that the portals have made to our members, their family’s, our staff team and our service as a whole. They remain an integral part of our service going forward.
We currently deliver over 200 sessions throughout the month.
We would like to send our Best Wishes to everyone within the Karten Network.
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