Rainbows and silver linings
Navigating the pandemic has been challenging for many of us. As the saying goes; we may all be in the same storm, but we are in different boats.
To stay safe, many of the people we support had to stay at home, both before and after the country went into lockdown in March. This meant missing favourite activities, social get togethers, and clubs.
As the country heads into winter and further restrictions may once again limit our usual activities, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the many wonderful ways that our colleagues and have gone above and beyond in the last six months. We have no doubt their commitment and creative approaches will continue to create even more happy, memorable moments as the pandemic continues.
Shed loads of rainbows
To create a feeling of community even when apart, the team created a hashtag #ChaseTheRainbow – encouraging people we support across the country to share the artwork they had been creating to spread joy from their windows.
Hannah and Laura from North Somerset went a step further, transforming their garden shed into an amazing giant rainbow mural!
Nicola Saunders, team leader, said: "The ladies understand there are people unwell due to the virus, and nurses and doctors are working hard to keep everyone well. They said they wanted to paint the shed to help cheer everybody up and to try and put a smile on everybody’s faces."
In Cornwall, Gary's garden has had a stunning makeover thanks to his support team. It's been transformed into sensory space, perfect to relax in. Gary really enjoyed adding the finishing touches with his cheerful chalk art. Team leader, Ben, said: "I am so proud of Gary and the team, for doing it during this difficult time. Gary is using his garden every day and really enjoying all the new features."
Green fingers in Cornwall
Also in Cornwall, Mark has found his green fingers and there is no stopping him! He has really loved every minute from getting the beds ready, to picking and eating vegetables that he has grown.
Lorna, one of his support team, said: "Recently, we took Mark to the Eden Project on an educational visit to learn more on how plants grow - following the latest social distancing guidelines, of course.
"He left with work sheets to complete back at home. Mark has shown a great interest in keeping our garden in top shape over lockdown and is learning new skills daily. He has since helped to build a compost bin with support staff, and has painted rocks and stones to decorate the garden."
Reaching for the sunshine
Ben in North Somerset, grew the tallest sunflower his support team had ever seen this summer! Team leader, Judi, said: "Ben planted a sunflower seed at the very beginning of lockdown. He has been looking after it and watering it every day with his flat mates, Dean and Tom. He has been enjoying watching it grow and keeping people up to date about its progress on Facebook and in his diary that he sends to all his friends and family. We all think Ben has done a fab job!"
Making the most of every day
Lucy started in her new role as team leader just as lockdown started: "As a new team leader, I take my hat off to the people that live there. Our team works tirelessly to ensure that the house creates meaningful activities in guidance with the restrictions for the safety of all."
The activities have included people they support creating some stunning painted artwork outside in the garden on a large canvas, and they have also had a bumper crop of beans after getting out in the garden this year.
Lucy said: "The team are sharing some fabulous ideas and I'm totally inspired by everyone's energy, positivity and resilience, especially when everyone's usually so busy. I feel very lucky to work with the people I support and my team."
Steve's green-fingered ambition
Steve, who lives in Bristol, has been keen to get involved in the gardening and took the new push mower for its first outing this summer! Steve's next ambition was to get more fish for the pond, so the support team organised a big weekend pond clean to welcome some more goldfish!
Therapy in the garden
Autism specialists in Cornwall, Karen and Abi, have recently been running Rebound Therapy sessions in the garden for people who had been missing their regular classes. Thanks to their dedication, it's clear these chaps are very happy and relaxed after a session!
Rebound Therapy involves using trampolines to boost movement, balance, an increase, or decrease in muscle tone, relaxation, sensory integration, improve fitness and exercise tolerance, and even communication skills.
With residents who Karen and Abi support not being able to go out for 10 weeks over the summer, the wonderful garden the support team revamped has been the perfect place for them to get outside and keeping up with their therapy.
A gardening appeal brings joy
Louise, a support worker in London, has been doing some great work to help the people she supports get gardening. She organised a fundraising appeal which she shared on her own social media.
This raised £180 from friends to buy gardening kit, so people she supports in London could continue their green-fingered fun.
Joseph learned all about protecting his strawberries from the squirrels, using new netting.
Going the extra mile
Although Worle and Scotch Horn – our day services in North Somerset – were closed in the summer, the staff continued to support people who attend their service.
The team focussed on supporting people who live alone to try new activities, get out in the garden, and take their daily exercise. One lady was even able to get out to the allotments with her support team!
These are just a few examples of how Brandon team members were innovative and creative over the summer. Watch this space for more rainbows and silver linings this winter.
Check out our available jobs and join us in finding silver linings this winter.