This winter, we are all too aware of the toll this year has taken on the health and wellbeing of the people we support.

In our day opportunities, supported living and residential services we are taking practical steps to support people to take care of their health and wellbeing.

We are making changes to the way we are providing support.

We want to invest in recovery support workers who can offer the time needed to really listen to people, understand their concerns and meet regularly to address their issues.

We want to invest in our community outreach programmes. It is going to be some time before groups and activities can run again in the community and many people remain isolated and without opportunities to interact with their peers. We are working with partners like River Studios in Totton to offer interactive singing groups both online and eventually in person. We will be looking for other ways of taking support out to people individually, possibly through buddy programmes and other initiatives.

We will be re-focusing our new Forest Day Opportunities in the New Forest as a wellness centre, investing in animal care, horticulture, craft and other therapeutic activities. We are also investing in the buildings to adapt them to covid-secure requirements. We are building a new toilet block (which was planned before the pandemic, but is now even more important to protect people within separate bubbles). This means that we can welcome more people back to daytime activity, so that they can start to rebuild their lives. We will be needing additional equipment so that people don’t have to share and more outdoor covered instruction areas for the autumn.

We will be re-starting our Step Up for Work programme, as soon as new funding is in place. Having a job is so vital to providing structure, self-worth and a sense of fulfilment. The scheme has already been successful in placing people into employment with local companies and we believe that our support both for the employers and the employee with learning disabilities will continue to make a profound difference to the place of people with learning disabilities in society.

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