It’s been a testing ten weeks for everyone, changes in routine have been a big hurdle to overcome for most of our clients and the separation from friends and family for all at Autism Wessex has been exceptionally hard.
But each day done is a day closer to normality (whatever that may look like), and all of us here at Autism Wessex are so grateful for the support we receive from people like you to be able to continue caring for those who need us now more than ever.
Today, we’re going to share some our Pandemic Perspectives; a chance for those in and around our charity to reflect on the past two months, the highs and the lows, and use it as a chance to look forward to the future.
How has the lockdown affected being able to visit/see your relatives who are in the care or taught by Autism Wessex?
This is very difficult as my daughter has no immune system therefore, we only visit when we deliver shopping. We call as we arrive and speak to each other either side of a 6ft gate. Goods are left outside the gate.
We can only see our grandson, Finley, through his bedroom window, where he will give us a quick wave. We normally often have Finley at our house and for sleepovers which we are really missing. This has also been made more difficult as my daughter, partner and Finley moved home pre-lockdown and we haven’t been able to help them since mid-March.
Finley has had to deal with so many changes, including no school as it’s too high a risk for him
Pauline Saint – Grandparent of Finley who is a student at Autism Wessex’s specialist SEN school, Portfield.
How has COVID-19 impacted the service users that you work with?
The adults that we support at middle path have been amazing and have adapted well to the government guidelines and restrictions that were placed on everyone. We had a service user due to go on his annual holiday on the day of the lockdown who coped tremendously well when we explained to him why it had to be cancelled. In the 19 years that we have supported him he has always gone back to his Mum’s for Easter and again coped well when this was cancelled. Obviously, they are all missing their families and we are supporting them to maintain regular contact with them.
Jayne Simmonds – Deputy Manager of one of Autism Wessex’s residential homes
How has COVID-19 changed the way Portfield School operates?
My normal team has been split across the two rotas. This has meant I’m working with staff from other classes. It’s definitely nice to meet other staff as everyone has different experience and it’s been really nice learning and sharing that with new people I don’t normally work with.
Belinda Marriott – Teaching Assistant at Portfield School
What are the two biggest challenges you’ve faced during the lockdown so far?
Work wise it is making sure all paperwork still goes out and comes back to me as I think Finance has taken a back seat. Personally, it’s been tough not being able to cuddle my parents or my boyfriend.
Julie Chapman – Part of the Finance team for Autism Wessex
How have you cared for your mental and physical health during this time?
Work life has always been busy as I have a lot of travel, and I work long hours. I relish the time off and plan every detail of being back on the water, hopefully in July, for a sailing trip to the Channel Isles
Siùn Cranny – CEO of Autism Wessex
What are you looking forward to in the future both for yourself and for the charity?
I am incredibly excited for the future for Autism Wessex, I think this situation has shown how truly resilient and passionate the team is, and I can’t wait to see that continue. We have lots of life-changing projects in the pipeline, which again is incredibly exciting to be a part of, and it’s lovely to have something so positive to focus on throughout this situation. I’m also looking forward to getting back out there and speaking to people about our work face-to-face rather than through a screen!
For myself, like many others, I can’t wait to see my family and friends and know that we can do so safely, and I’m also looking forward to being able to buy coffee from my favourite little independent coffee shop!
Paige Easom - Fundraising Officer for Autism Wessex