As we make the slow move to reducing lockdown, I thought it would be helpful to take stock of what is happening at Minstead Trust in our Care and Support Services and what the plans are for the next steps.
Both Day Opportunities will continue to work in small groups, or `bubbles` and maintain social distancing. We have just heard from Hampshire County Council that people in day services will be eligible for weekly Lateral Flow Tests to be conducted at home. We don’t yet have a confirmed date for this but we will work with you to get this rolled out as quickly as possible. We are seeking clarification from Portsmouth City Council about this too, but expect the same to be offered to Day Services here.
Portsmouth Day Opportunities will continue to remain open and welcoming people back. As more people return to Warren Avenue, we will need to review how much outreach support we can continue with. We will be expecting to reduce this outreach support over time/. If you are looking to enable someone to return to Day Service, please can you make sure that you have spoken to the team first so that they can plan for the days and allocate people to the right group.
New Forest Day Opportunities will restart from Tuesday 6 April. You should have already been contacted by the Day Service team to confirm the details and your son/daughters precise return date. As more people return to the service, as you will be aware, we do not have the staffing capacity to continue with the zoom sessions in addition to supporting people on site. I know that these sessions have been very well received and want to thank you for supporting them.
As you will know, from yesterday, up to six people or two households can meet outside, including in private gardens. I know some families have already taken advantage of that, and, together with the sunny weather, it is lovely for people to be reunited again. Please do remember to `book` yourselves in so we can help manage the number of visitors. Indoor visits will not be able to take place until 17 May at the earliest according the latest lockdown roadmap.
I know that some families are looking to plan holidays away – this can happen if it is only two households. Again, please contact the team leader who can work with you on helping to manage this.
As well as the meeting outside, we are also able to have one visitor inside following a negative Lateral Flow Test and the appropriate use of PPE. Alternatively, we can also facilitate socially distanced visits with a screen inside for more than one person without the need for lateral flow tests etc. Please contact Minstead Lodge residential if you wish to take this up.
Keeping everyone safe
We are now able to test all of our staff weekly and this helps us to keep on top of any potential outbreaks. If there are any positive cases, we will follow the national and local advice and, where necessary, work with the Public Health Team to ensure that we are doing all we can to minimise the impact. I am pleased to say that we have had a very high take up of our staff for the vaccine, and I know that the vast majority of the people we support have also been vaccinated.
Whilst I hope that we are nearing the end of the year-long restrictions, we are all conscious that we are not there yet and will continue to be vigilant and do all we can to keep your loved ones as safe as possible. Our focus for the next few months will remain on well-being and then begin to focus on re-engaging people back into the local community.
Finally, as you should all know, I am moving on from Minstead Trust to become Chief Executive of a youth charity – Youth Options. Adam Dodd, currently Director of Finance and Central Services will be acting CEO whilst the Board recruit my replacement. Although I am around until the 26 April, Adam is taking on that role from Thursday 1 April and I will be supporting him in the handover.
I would like to say thank you to you all for supporting Minstead Trust over the many years, and particular thanks to you for bearing with us as we navigated our way through the pandemic. I shall miss Minstead, and particularly the people we support, very much but I know that I am leaving Minstead in very good hands, not just the leadership, but the whole staff team who have been incredible especially this past year.
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