VIRTUAL choirs, walking groups, online cooking clubs and free tablets for those who need them – local adults with special needs are learning new skills and moving on despite the challenges of lockdown.
Teamwork Trust – which supports autistic adults and adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs – has been able to keep its Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough centres open as national measures across England continue so that small groups can still access hands-on work tasks and wellbeing activities.
Teamwork Trust won Charity Today Awards’ Disability Impact Award in 2019 and is an Official Partner Charity of the national charity campaign, UK Charity Week.
Through the charity’s new blended ‘Living & Learning’ programme, service-users have also been choosing from a daily timetable of remote, digital and practical activities or emotional support to keep them all engaged, active and entertained at home.
Victoria Bell, Teamwork’s Head of Development, says the safety and happiness of members, whether they are at home or in the centres, continues to be the focus.
She said: “The blended service we created during the last lockdown brought about some truly remarkable results and success stories. We have simply built on that and made it even better so that we can support each individual to keep learning still and developing,” she said.
“At the moment our three centres are open five days a week with minimal numbers, while those at home get to choose from a varied timetable of accredited learning sessions and fun games and activities. Everyone receives a personal phone or zoom calls, and doorstep deliveries of weekly work tasks, tutorials, personalised letters and resource packs too – all individually tailored around hobbies, interests and skillset. No one is ever alone; we make sure of that.”
Service-users, parents and carers have been praising Teamwork for its bespoke and person-centred approach.
Michael, who attends the Wellingborough centre, says he is feeling more confident and reassured than ever: “One of the ways Teamwork has helped was to give tablets to those who didn’t have their own. Getting us all online is the best thing they could have done. They taught me how to use my tablet to do simple tasks like checking things online, ordering things I need, and even taking part in classes and courses. They had found a way to keep us all together when we are actually apart, and I don’t feel as isolated.”
For more information on Teamwork’s blended ‘Living & Learning’ service, click here.