Fun virtual session
VALUES Lockdown Successes
When we went into lockdown back in March VALUES (Voluntary Action LeicesterShire) had a decision to make. Furlough all our staff and wait for restrictions to be lifted again or find a way to help the people we work with through this tough time. We couldn’t leave our clients without support so we started calling them to explain what was happening and check they were OK. Quickly it dawned on us that we could set up group video calls and do many of the activities that we would normally do. The tricky part was working out which platform to do it on. We wanted something that people already knew, something without a time limit and with the capacity for our usual size groups, so we settled on Facebook Messenger video service.
Its taken a lot of hard work from all the VALUES staff to get everything up and running including setting up Facebook accounts for some people and working out new activities that work well on virtual sessions. But after a few weeks we had ironed out most of the creases. We have been able to continue singing and drama groups virtually as well as adapting our English and Maths sessions to be done virtually. Our staff have been running a lot of quizzes with their groups as well as online games and word games. We have found a way to run our disco virtually. Social events group are still planning upcoming events, including the online quiz we did, which was open to all our clients and staff.
We have loved being able to put a smile on people’s faces and see them through video calls. It’s also been great to see that clients have been contacting each other outside of our sessions through Facebook to keep in touch. That’s going to be a lasting legacy of lockdown. Putting a bit of routine back into people’s lives while they are still in lockdown has been invaluable for lots of our clients, not least those on the autistic spectrum. Our service continues to provide some respite for families and care-givers by giving the VALUES client a focus away from their families. Of course the clients are enjoying their activities with us, but it’s also keeping their minds sharp, especially answering maths problems and quiz questions.
Of course, not everyone is able to get online. We have continued to offer phone calls for those who prefer. Some just want a quick chat and others want to sing, dance, and play games over the phone. We just do what each person wants!
There are a few people that have needed more support from us and we will always do everything we can for our clients and their families. Some families needed help to get food and medication so we have been making deliveries where needed. We have also started offering social distancing walks for those who are very isolated or most at risk of family break down.
Now that restrictions are beginning to be lifted we are looking at what a return to the building will look like. Instead of just looking at temporary restrictions that we will need to put in place we are seeing this as an exciting opportunity to improve the VALUES service for long term. One of the changes we need to put in place is to ensure that every activity room we use is stocked with all the art equipment, games, puzzles and other equipment needed to reduce movement around the building. Therefore we, if you are able to donate to VALUES through GlobalGiving or with any equipment, this is a great time to do it.
Thank you for your ongoing support of this important project.
One to one learning