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Sunday, 24 January 2021

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Care workers dubbed COVID-19 ‘Community Heroes’ for supporting people with learning disabilities

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A group of Richmond care workers have this winter been branded ‘Community Heroes’ by the borough council for their tireless and selfless work supporting people with learning disabilities and autism throughout the pandemic.

Staff working at six local residential care services, each run by learning disability charity United Response, scooped the prestigious prize for 2020 as part of Richmond Borough Council’s annual Dignity in Care award.

United Response’s care homes on Kneller Road, Mayfair Avenue, Woodland Crescent, Harvey Road, Hanworth Road and Curtis Road were all given the award for their ‘positive contributions, selfless dedication and commitment to helping others’ in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The charity’s local staff teams, who fought off fierce competition from other care homes in the region, were also praised for their innovative provision of care this year and the positive and supportive leadership of the management.

Recent official figures have shown that people with Down’s syndrome or profound learning disabilities are more vulnerable to respiratory infections such as Covid-19, meaning providing the right support has been more important than ever. New data in December highlighted far higher coronavirus death rates among people with learning disabilities than the general population, and United Response joined wider sector calls for this group to be prioritised for vaccinations.

Present lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions meant Richmond Borough Council was unable to hold its regular Dignity in Care awards ceremony this year, meaning winners were not presented with their prizes in person in the usual way.

The six United Response services instead received a certificate signed by Councillor Piers Allen (Chair of the borough’s Adult Social Services, Health and Housing Services Committee) and Liz Bruce, Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health.

Writing to the winning services in December, Councillor Piers Allen said:

“United Response’s local staff teams have been delivering outstanding care and support in the most difficult of circumstances imaginable. Their dedication and selflessness have been of the highest standard: they are all true Dignity in Care Heroes.”

Mike Crowhurst, United Response’s Director of Operations for the South, said:

“It is clear that truly exceptional work has taken place in Richmond throughout this year, and we are incredibly proud of everyone associated with these six exceptional services – from the dedicated staff working day and night, to the extraordinary people they support. I give my deepest thanks to them all.”

Winners of Richmond Borough Council’s annual Dignity in Care awards are chosen by the borough’s Quality department, alongside social care managers working within the local authority.

National charity United Response runs creative and tight-knit support services for people with learning disabilities and autism across the Richmond and Kingston area, including Teddington, Twickenham, St Margaret’s, Barnes, Strawberry Hill and Hampton.

It hosts regular activity groups and social enterprises for local people with learning disabilities, each set up and co-led by people which the charity supports. Classes and groups range from drama and cooking to gardening and meditation.

For more information on how United Response is enabling local people with learning disabilities to live truly independent lives, please visit: www.unitedresponse.org.uk or call 0203 727 0602.

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