Like most face-to-face support services, our VALUES Learning Disability service had to close its doors to new and existing clients at the beginning of the lockdown.
While it was a hard decision to take, particularly since many VALUES clients enjoy the opportunity to socialise and be a part of a fun community, it was the only decision the service could possibly make for the safety of both its clients and its staff.
Since then, the VALUES team has worked hard to find ways to continue supporting existing clients. The team have adapted quickly and started delivering virtual sessions to make sure clients still have an opportunity to interact with each other and with support staff.
So far they’ve delivered maths and English sessions over virtual chat, and even ran the drama group online! They have also done singing, dancing, PE with Joe Wicks, art, photography and the disco.
VALUES client Tom said:
Thank you for carrying on the activities in a video calls it was weird at first but getting used to it…. I had lots of fun. it was really great to see my friends and the support (staff).
The service also had excellent feedback from the parents of another VALUES client, Punit. They were very happy and appreciative that VALUES was keeping in touch with clients, especially because some of them are still confused with what’s happening.
VALUES Manager Mikaela Paterson said:
Sometimes it gets difficult for Punit to understand and he gets angry, so I told them that I don’t mind talking to Punit any time he wants to chat. They thanked us for providing this kind of service which no other organisations are doing.
Being able to support people virtually isn’t just about keeping busy. Keeping a sense of routine and socialising is very important for people’s mental health and has a knock-on effect on behaviour that family members really notice. Family members are also appreciating having someone to talk to, but more than that we are also able to help some families by collecting food and medication for them when they are unable.
VALUES will continue adding more sessions to its virtual offering and more and more clients are now joining them as VALUES staff are able to help clients and their families set up the technology to get involved.
You can see more about these sessions on the VALUES Facebook page, or if you want to know more about what VALUES does, you can contact Mikaela Paterson directly on:
0116 257 5044