Disability Support update
22nd September 2020
Disability Support is not doing face to face appointments.
This is not a decision that we are happy with but to keep everyone safe we believe it is for the best.
We are still completing benefit applications and appeals over the phone or video call.
All staff will be working from home and will continue to provide advice, guidence and support.
How we responded to the Covid-19 Crisis from March till August 2020
Watch a video about some of the work our volunteers did.
Following goverment guidelines we closed our office on March 23rd 2020 and suspended all social groups.
We then started offering different services as we knew that a lot of people in Nottingham and Nottinghamsire will need help during this Pandemic not just our clients.
Our new services were offered to ANYONE who needed help because they are vulnerable, sheilding, caring for loved ones, struggling with anxiety or mental health issues or because they are over 70.
Weekend Meals Delivered
Someone to Talk With
The uptake was massive. However the biggest suprise was the amount of referals received from large organisations, some of which are National bodies that receive a lot of money from both funding and donations and fundraising.
Disability Support started preparing Covid-19 Crisis Support nearly two weeks before a national lockdown which meant we were prepared for when our communities needed help.
Although the Shopping, prescription collection and meals service have now ended, we are still offering phone befriending and a proffesional listnener. We will be able to reinstate all support services should there be a need.
Disability Support is the sole tenant at Old Basford Community Centre which has been a fantastic home for eight members of staff and until March, forty volunteers.
Pre Covid-19 we had an amazing track record of working with and supporting local communities as well as working with other organisations and community groups.
On Thursday 19th March Disability Support issued an urgent appeal to recruit volunteers to support local communities with the issues they would face during a pandemic lockdown.
By 4.30pm on Friday we had recruited 23 new people and had re-written our business model to become a Covid support hub. Friday also saw the first people using the shopping support service and some of the stories they told us were heart-breaking.
We knew things would get worse from there but we were ready.
Over the weekend we continued to appeal for volunteers. Those with a recent enhanced DBS certificates were fast tracked into service, whilst others were processed for an enhanced check despite the cost to the charity. All volunteers were issued with an ID badge, safety guidelines, a volunteer agreement (do’s and don’ts), gloves, masks and hand sanitiser.
The following week we continued to prepare to support the most vulnerable in our communities. We made preparations to make our services available on a virtual platform and liaised with the DWP and the Tribunal Service to keep up to date with their changes so we could continue to support clients.
Our community team have been amazing throughout but during the first few weeks it was a difficult time. They kept going, calmly and steadily and met each request with the same enthusiasm as the last.
On Monday the 23rd Of March we officially closed our services to the public at 9:00 PM that night. The following day our phone line was transferred to the office mobile and all calls were fielded by a member of staff who then shared the tasks among the community team and volunteers.
By the end of that week we had officially been running COVID-19 support services for the last 14 days and were proud to be leading the way in Community Support.
From Tuesday 24th of March onwards we have received referrals from NDO's, Social Prescribers, NCC staff, Link Workers, Macmillan, Blind Action, NCVS, Veterans Support Services, Chemists, Housing Associations, Support Workers, Local People, NHS Teams, Age UK and more.
We are still running our Welfare Rights Services via phone, email and video chat. This includes attending tribunals. This is very difficult to do but my staff have risen to the challenge. All of our social groups are now run via Zoom.
We have volunteer befrienders to call people every week who are struggling with lockdown and/or isolation. Some were already known to us, others have been self-referring or we have been sent contact details of people in need by professionals.
We also have a volunteer who is a professional listener and can support with more in depth or complex issues.
We know that age, disability and caring responsibilities can create barriers to accessing a healthy diet. We also know that a lot of people have reduced care support and in some cases, no carers at all. With this in mind we initially partnered with The Vine Community Centre to provide a hot meal on a Sunday.
Taking on board feedback from people who have been financially affected and have either a disability, caring responsibility or age related difficulties, we are now delivering two free meals on a Saturday instead. They arrive in reusable, microwave safe containers so people can reheat or store food to their benefit.
Over the last few days we have risk assessed re-opening our gardening service. This information will be made public soon. We are also looking at how we can safely see clients face to face again but I’m sure you can imagine, the cost of screens and limited space will cause a few barriers for us.
Our social groups and support will continue on a virtual platform until at least December, if not longer.
Check out the PDF document below highlighting what we have been doing.
I trust you will be as impressed with Disability Support’s staff and volunteers as I am.
I would be grateful if you would stay in touch with us and follow our work and more importantly support us to continue helping your loved ones, neighbours, residents, citizens, clients or constituents.
Covid Response Hub Snapshot
Get in touch with Disability Support
Old Basford Community Centre, Bramble Close, Nottingham, NG6 0QG
Or call: 0115 978 50 95
Or complete the form below.