As part of Learning Disability Awareness week, we wanted to highlight how we at Minstead Trust have continued to support people during lockdown and tell the stories of their own experience during this challenging time. Lockdown has bought challenges for many of us, but for our staff and the people we support it has meant a change to the way in which we are able to provide support.

Here are some experiences from our months of caring under lockdown.

Portsmouth Day Opportunities

Becky Austin, Head of Portsmouth Day Opportunities

‘The early days after lockdown were challenging, guidelines and advice were changing on a daily basis. The team at Portsmouth have been really flexible and taken all of these changes on board as well as providing a string of videos for our day opportunities online sessions.

‘Since then, and with some easing of restrictions, the team have developed a routine of activities, out reach sessions for the people we support.

‘The outreach sessions have included supporting people to go for walks, picnics, helping get medications and food parcels as well as the opportunity to touch base with those who are with parents or carers or those living with other people. People using these outreach sessions have appreciated seeing a different face and also the reminder that Minstead Trust and its staff are still there for them.

‘Zoe, a support worker at Portsmouth, has even been doing an exercise class for one lady who lives in a care home. The exercise class takes place in the garden of the home with the right social distancing in place, some of the other residents have even joined in too.

‘As restrictions begin to ease the team at Portsmouth are seeing more people taking up the out reach offer. One group has even asked to play badminton with a couple of friends who live in a different household. It is great to see these activities taking place and we look forward to seeing more of them over the coming weeks.’

Emma, Maddie and Sean working in the nursery during lockdown

Supported Living and New Forest Day opportunities

Emma, Maddie and Sean live in one of our supported living houses and from very early on in lockdown they have been keeping themselves busy in the nursery at Furzey Gardens.

As members of the same household, they have been able to keep active and busy whilst also helping to make sure that there were plenty of plants ready to be sold in the plant sales once Furzey Gardens was able to open.

They have been planting, weeding, potting on, watering and making compost as well as undertaking some of the many tasks required to keep the nursery running. Not only have they nurtured the plants that we are now able to sell at Furzey Gardens, but their knowledge of the plant names has improved significantly. So whilst lockdown has been a challenge in many ways, the consistent working in the nursery over this time has significantly increased their horticultural skills and knowledge.

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