ADAPTING DURING CRISIS
The care we provide has been adapted dramatically and speedily here at Caring For Life, during these unprecedented times. With our daytime projects having to close, visits to people in their own homes being impossible, and virtually all those we support being in social isolation due to their vulnerability or underlying illnesses, the whole way we care has changed.
Beneficiaries from across the whole spectrum of our care have now been grouped to give them a new keyworker. That person is responsible for them and offers support, both from a distance and directly through practical help, when needed.
Our dedicated pastoral team makes sure that every one of our beneficiaries receives phone calls throughout the week, advising on issues or helping practically. These calls are undertaken from home, as we endeavour to keep to the government’s guidelines by ensuring home working whenever possible.
Regular calls are literally a lifeline for those who already live isolated lives out in the community. As our staff make these calls, they are able to identify issues which people may not be able to deal with alone, including matters such as benefits letters, budgeting and dealing with utilities. This team seeks to encourage, advise, signpost, liaise on behalf of, pray with, read with and even sing with those in our care. They offer advice and suggest tools and routines to help people cope during these times of isolation and separation. This support is so important in seeking to keep all those in our care active and well, both physically and mentally.
Easy read advice has been provided in how to stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, and how to unpack and sanitise items delivered in a food parcel.
Art packs, jigsaws and books are being offered to give stimulation and links to websites that might encourage those in our care are being suggested.
A dedicated Caring For Life beneficiary social media site is also being designed, to give those in our care a link to Caring For Life, the farm projects which so many used to attend, and to each other.
The pastoral team not only cares through a phone call; they also support practically by delivering food when people are unable to get to the shops and have no other means of obtaining supplies. This resource is already massively used.
Ready meals made on the farm are also being offered to those who are in desperate need of good, healthy food, and who are unable to access these by any other means.
This frontline team is also helping by collecting and delivering medication for those who are unable to collect it themselves, and when problems occur in the supply of essential medication from the GP/pharmacy, help is offered to liaise so that the right supplies get to those who need them. Then a help line is being put into place to take messages and to offer a word of assurance when those in our care are unable to get hold of their keyworker and are awaiting return calls.
ENGAGING DURING LOCKDOWN
Our two supported living homes are currently being staffed 24/7. The homes are in lockdown and support is being given to all our residents during this time, which will feel very strange for them.
The staff are engaging with each resident, helping them to cope. Activities and games are made available, and staff are offering times to pray and read with those in the homes, if wanted. We are thankful that both homes have a garden, which the residents can enjoy.
The beneficiaries who live in the homes are able to access the CFL beneficiary social media site if they so wish, helping them engage with the farm projects and also other beneficiaries.
Supported Living Homes
KEEPING THINGS GOING
On the farm, any project that is either livestock-based, or plant-based is being sustained, despite beneficiaries being unable to attend.
The Agricultural team continue to care for the sheep and cattle, and news from the farm is made available to those in our care.
The Equine project team still care for and exercise the horses, and the Poultry project continues to produce eggs for sale through the farm shop.
The Horticulture project and the team working in the nurseries still care for the plants we are growing, and the gardens and conservation areas are being maintained as well as we are able. We very much look forward to a time when we may be able to welcome people back onto projects here in the future.