June 11, 2020
Learning Disability Week
15-21 June is #LearningDisabilityWeek and the theme for 2020 is friendship. Whilst we may be physically more separated, our hearts can still stay close. As our Making Days day centres in Liverpool have been forced to temporarily close, we’ve postponed visits to Shared Lives homes for people’s safety and the guys living in our Supported Living homes are looking out more and more for each other; we’ve loved hearing lots of stories of budding and growing friendships along the way.
This week we’ll be sharing some of our favourite fun stuff that people have been getting up to; connecting with their pals remotely, forming new bonds and preparing for reunions with their friends when it’s safe to do so.
Here’s some of the amazing stories…
David’s doing all sorts with his support friends
David, who usually meets with all his friends at Making Days North in Liverpool, has been getting one-to-one support from the team whilst our centres are temporarily closed because of Covid-19. He’s done all sorts of enjoyable stuff with our #NeverMoreNeeded support workers; painting, planting, enjoying barbeques and visiting the beach recently.
His favourite thing to do has been getting the day centre all spruced up for when his friends return, decorating the walls with colourful patterns. This has been really good sensory stimulation for him as well as giving him a chance to show how much he has missed his friends. He’s also been making yummy cookies for all the Making Days team. He appreciates their friendship so much.
Sandra’s a real crafty one
Whilst Sandra can’t attend our Making Days service for adults with learning disabilities she’s been getting crafty at home and putting some of the skills she learnt at the day centre to good use.
She’s been using different materials like oils and acrylics and has enjoyed decorating figures with diamonds, such as bunnies and birds. These will make lovely gifts for her friends from Making Days when it’s safe to see them again. Sandra’s also made some feathered friends, building bird houses and a bird restaurant for wildlife to gather in her garden. She’s learnt so much during lockdown.
Paul’s loving video chats
Lockdown doesn’t have to mean not seeing our friends. The wonders of technology have really opened the doors to new opportunities and supported people who use our Making Days day centres in Walton and Garston to get more techy in the process.
Paul’s really been enjoying having video calls with his friends from the day centres every week whilst he’s at home. That goes for staff and people we support who he’s built a close bond with over the years. He’s always laughing and joking and loves the opportunity to stay connected whilst staying safe.
Mark’s making new friends out in the community
Mark, who usually comes to our Making Days day centre in Walton, Liverpool has enjoyed having walks to the park and the memorial garden during lockdown. He’s also been trainspotting which is something he really enjoys.
Whilst out and about he’s made lots of new friends and developed new social skills. He’s especially enjoying chats with people at the local shop when he goes to buy some treats. Lockdown can actually be a great time to make new friendships with people we might not have spoken to before and it’s lovely to see Mark building new confidence.
Bernie’s still meeting her pals from book club remotely
Bernie has still been able to catch up with her friends from our Making Days day centres in Liverpool whilst the centres are temporarily closed due to Covid-19. Some activities have moved remotely where possible.
Bernie’s continued with her book club over the telephone, catching up with her pals and also getting better at her English skills in the process. We’re so glad she’s been able to stay feeling supported by our #NeverMoreNeeded support workers and keep up the close relationships she’s made at the day centre.
Ryan’s keeping fit and his mates are egging him on
Ryan has been working on his personal fitness for a good few months now, supported by our #NeverMoreNeeded support worker team at Making Days North in Walton, Liverpool. He’d set himself lots of running challenges and was running around the day centre every day before enjoying activities there. His friends were egging him on every step (or jog) of the way.
We’re pleased to see that his fitness regime is continuing at home, his fitness levels are increasing and he is promoting a healthier lifestyle overall. He’s sharing this progress with all his mates online and everyone’s continuing to show their support. Well done, Ryan!
David’s doing maths sessions over the phone
David’s been taking part in maths sessions over the phone during lockdown, catching up with his friends from our Making Days day centres at the same time. Just because he can’t go to his usual day centre sessions, he didn’t want to stop learning and growing.
David really enjoys these calls and looks forward to them every week. They’ve really helped to keep his mind active and keep him feeling connected to his friends at the day centre. He’s getting so much more confident with his maths through practising and being encouraged by our #NeverMoreNeeded teams and his pals.
Daniel’s drawing beautiful pictures for his pals
Daniel usually goes to our Making Days day centres. We have one in Garston and one in Walton, Liverpool. During lockdown, whilst the centres are temporarily closed, he’s been completing maths and english worksheets at home to keep busy and show his support staff just how determined he is to learn.
Daniel’s also been drawing lovely pictures for his friends at the day centre and telling everyone how excited he is to catch up with his pals in the drama group. He misses his friends but he’s kept in touch and he’s so excited for the day he gets to see them in person.
Jackie’s enjoying sensory activities
Jackie’s been coming to out Making Days day centres in Walton, Liverpool weekly to enjoy sensory activities which can be really beneficial for people with learning disabilities. During Covid-19, this support has safely continued and Jackie has enjoyed a visit to the sensory room once a week.
This means Jackie has been able to feel calm during a stressful time and have some routine in her life. She’s so thankful to her friends at the day centre for helping to make this happen.
Anna’s signing her favourite songs
Back when our day centres in Garston and Walton, Liverpool were open as usual, Anna was learning Makaton there – a form of sign language. Whilst she’s been spending more time at home she’s been continuing to practice, getting better and better.
This is a great way for Anna to communicate, especially with her friends who have disabilities which affect their ability to communicate. Anna wants to be able to communicate with all her friends in a way that works for everyone. She’s been showing off her skills through video calls until she can meet up with them again in person. Here she is performing one of her favourites, ‘You’ll never walk alone’, in Makaton.
Shaun’s enjoying socially distanced walks
Shaun’s still needed some additional support whilst our Making Days day centre in Walton, Liverpool is temporarily closed. He’s been having home visits from our #NeverMoreNeeded support workers and enjoying safe walks out in the community too.
Shaun’s so delighted to be able to keep seeing his friends from the centre and especially loves playing board games and having ‘thumb wars’. He’s been able to keep doing the stuff he loves whilst isolating. Brilliant!
Alan’s getting a spot of fresh air with the support team
Alan’s continued getting some community support whilst he can’t come to his usual Making Days day centre in Liverpool. He’s enjoyed long walks in the park with our #NeverMoreNeeded support workers and getting all the benefits of fresh air on his mental health and wellbeing.
Friends are so important during lockdown and seeing a familiar face can make all the difference to someone’s happiness and ability to manage any worries and anxieties they may be feeling. This is especially true for adults with learning disabilities who really benefit from routine and structure in their days to feel more mentally well.
Elizabeth’s getting a change of scenery on respite
Elizabeth usually goes to our Making Days day centres. During lockdown, she’s spent lots of time in respite care with a different carer. Being in a new home with new people has really helped her to make new friendships.
And she’s loving checking out a different location on long walks and gradually getting better at walking on her own with the support of a zimmer–frame and her carer. We’re so proud of her!
Corrine’s in Club Tropicana
Corrine usually uses our Community Support service for people with learning disabilities. Her support worker, Marie, takes her on days out doing all the things she enjoys most. Whilst she can’t get out and about as much during lockdown, her mum has been supporting her at home with a fun new themed activity every single week.
All the activities have been based around the things that Corrine loves most. They’ve had a Disney day, an underwater theme, an outdoor cinema and – Marie’s personal favourite – a tropical alfresco bar, filled with all the cocktails and summer tunes you could wish for. Corrine’s having an absolute ball during lockdown and is itching to share what she’s been up to with her #NeverMoreNeeded friend, Marie every week.
Anthony’s making feathered friends
Whilst Anthony’s unable to come to our Making Days day centres for adults with learning disabilities he’s been carrying on with some of the skills he learnt with his friends there. He’s been making and decorating bird boxes for his garden – something he learnt to do in his woodwork sessions.
He’s also been having video calls from our support staff which has been important to him as he is a really sociable person. He’s made up to be able to catch up with his friends even during lockdown.
Diane’s keeping creative
Diane’s Making Days support worker is a really good friend to her. Knowing how much she loves arts and crafts, she sent her a package of craft materials at the start of lockdown to enjoy at home.
Diane’s been working her way through these and really enjoying the mental health benefits of being creative. Excellent stuff!
Stephen’s spotting wildlife
Stephen’s been enjoying going to his local park for walks whilst he’s unable to come to our Making Days day centres in Gartson and Walton.
During the first couple of weeks he saw some baby geese had hatched in the park and he’s really enjoyed watching them grow as the weeks are passing by. You could say he’s made friends with nature.
Donna’s staying connected
Whilst Donna can’t see her friends in our Making Days day centres based in Walton and Garston, Liverpool, she’s been enjoying weekly visits to her local park with our #NeverMoreNeed support staff. Special arrangements have been made for Donna who would struggle if she was to lose these friendships and all the benefits of socialising on her confidence and communication skills.
She’s also enjoying the chance to get some exercise and fresh air, sitting down for a picnic and a natter.
Matt’s gaining independence
Matt’s missing his friends at our Making Days day centres. Whilst he’s not been able to come to the centre he’s been getting lots of confidence and independence, getting out and about to the local park and the shops.
Having this routine really supports him to feel more mentally well and he loves meeting people as he goes about his day.
John and Diane are lighting eachother’s days up
John and Diane are boyfriend and girlfriend and both usually come along to our Making Days day centre in Liverpool, enjoying lots of fun group activities together.
During lockdown, these two were really missing each other terribly. So, our #NeverMoreNeeded support staff arranged for them to safely meet up. When they saw each other, their faces lit up, they were so happy. Seeing someone you love can really boost your mood so our team wanted to make sure these two got reunited. How lovely that they can stay in touch!
Carlton’s keeping up a routine
Carlton loves socialising with his friends and staff at our Making Days day centre and having a good old laugh. He struggled at the start of lockdown and was missing this friendship.
So, our #NeverMoreNeeded support staff have gradually been reintroducing some routine, getting him out in the fresh air, supported by one of our support staff who he knows well and feels safe with. Such a close bond has been formed during this new type of support and Carlon feels so much less lonely during an increasingly isolated time.
Jeanette’s staying safe and active
Jeanette was feeling a little bit down in the dumps when she was told that our Making Days day centres would need to remain closed for a while for the safety of these who use the service. This is because lots of people supported are in the high–risk category and large gatherings pose a higher risk of spreading infection.
So, activities have been moved to a one-to-one basis and flexible solutions has been offered to give people that same sense of friendship in the outdoors. This is much safer for the people we support and really helps to boost their spirits. Jeanette looks forward to her weekly walks with our #NeverMoreNeeded support staff and having a good old chin-wag with them.
The art show must go on
Darren, from our Making Days North service is a massive ambassador for #LearningDisabilityWeek and, every year, loves making a big splash, using the talents of the people he supports to do this.
The day centre in Walton, Liverpool was due to host an art exhibition on Wednesday 17 June – mid-way through Learning Disability Week. Whilst the centre is temporarily closed and group activities are postponed, Darren wanted to make sure the creativity of those who use the centre was still celebrated.
So people got arty at home, sending in lots of beautiful pieces, inspired by the NHS and their current situations to really brighten up their friends days. Voila!