An update from our Chief Executive Madeleine to the family of people we support.

Dear all,

I hope that you are well.  Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on some easing up of the social distancing  and encouraging people who can return to work to do so, I thought it would be helpful to let you know what we are doing at Minstead Trust.

The guidance on the changes for work places are very stringent and require all work places to have detailed social distancing, hygiene and other measures in place to minimise the interaction of staff and reduce the risk of infection.   Those that can work from home need to remain working from home. Teams who cannot socially distance must minimise who they come into contact with etc.   So for us at Minstead Trust, for the time being there is no change in the way in which we have successfully been working for the past ten weeks – small teams, working with the same people we support in household groups and minimising cross-team working.

For our Day Opportunities, for the time being this means that we will not be opening up the doors of our Day Opportunities in the near future.  We are carrying out full risk assessments as to what might be possible but the challenges around the requirement for social distancing, mixing groups of people from different households and what space we have available for the numbers of people we support are all providing a challenge.  We will not be making any changes until we have been able to discuss this in detail with the local authorities and receive guidance from them and national Government on what is considered safe for us to do.   I know a number of families are keen for people to return but I hope that you understand that we need to do so in a way that is as safe as possible both for your loved one, but also for those with whom they will be mixing and for our staff and volunteers.  We will be in touch when we are able to know more.  In the meantime, don’t forget that we continue to post activities twice a day on www.minsteadtrust.org.uk/dayopportunitiesonline/

The other major change that was announced is that people are now able to meet up with ONE other person outside of their current household group at a social distance of 2m.   For residential and our supported living houses, it may be possible for someone we support to meet up outside with one member of their family or friend.  If this is something that people wish to do, we will be carrying out individual risk assessments with the individual to assess how realistic the social distancing measures will be followed.   We also have to be mindful that it can sometimes be more distressing for someone to meet a loved one but not be able to be physically near them.

In addition, we have to be additionally cautious about how we support someone to meet another person outside of the household.  Because your son/daughter/brother/sister lives with other people, many of whom will have other underlying health conditions, and is being supported by our staff teams, we also have a duty of care to the other people we support and our staff members to ensure that they are also protected from any increased risk of infection.   This risk is even higher as people begin to return to their own workplaces, travel on public transport and generally come into contact with more people.

Our strong guidance for all families at the moment is, if you are able to wait to meet up with your loved one, then we would really advise you to do so. Like the rest of the country, we expect some further changes if and when this next period of relaxation is reviewed and considered successful from a health point of view.    The systems we have put in place has served us well so far, and we would not want to squander that through rapid easing up of restrictions when we are supporting a particularly vulnerable group of people.

If there are genuinely strong reasons why this may not be possible, please talk to Dominic Catton for Minstead Lodge, or Wendy Gathercole for Supported Living who will be able to discuss and advise on specific circumstances.    But please be aware that I need to think about the potential impact on our staff and the other residents/tenants as well as to your loved one.   We would like to work with you to find the best solution for everyone involved.

Thank you for your continued support in this matter.

Madeleine

Chief Executive Officer

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