On Track opens up its doors to members once again

11th September 2020

Our hard working and dedicated staff at our Hampshire day services have been working around the clock to get our services covid-secure and ready to welcome back members. After months of ‘activities on wheels’, the team have finally opened their doors to the people we support once again.

Activities coordinator Danielle Styles has spoken about what it has been like preparing for the big reopening at our largest Hampshire day service, On Track in Petersfield.

She said: “Getting everything put into place to make sure we are covid-safe has taken a lot of time and hard work from all of the team.

“We have put a one way system in place with arrows on the floor and we are making sure to socially distance everybody. We’ve reduced the number of people who can be in the IT room at one time and we’re making sure to regularly remind everybody to keep their distance. We worked so hard before opening to make sure we can operate the service as safely as possible.

“We opened Rural Skills a few weeks ago, with Waterlooville Day Service a week after to test out how it goes, before opening our biggest day service On Track. The first two day services ran very smoothly once reopening so we felt confident to do the same with On Track.”

“Everyone has really pulled together, our service manager and deputy manager, Naomi and Maria, have been working for weeks to get everything right before we could welcome back members. For our first couple of days we did have some mixed emotions, some members were raring to go and were so overjoyed to be back, whereas some were more anxious and nervous with the sudden change, which can be expected.

“So far we have done lot of arts and crafts, we are working on our display boards and trying to make them as colourful as possible. We have also created paintings to celebrate Roald Dahl’s birthday. On our display we have pictures from our ‘thank you’ video message we sent round to everybody during lockdown. (video below)

“We are still doing our outreach activities to the people we support at Winchester Apartments, which has been working really well. Our biggest challenge will be coming up with plenty of indoor activities once the weather gets colder.

“I’m so proud of our members, they have done so well in adapting to the new rules and changes in their routines. It was stressful in the first week of opening because everything was so different and we are all having to adapt to this strange new way of doing our jobs, but we have missed them all a lot and are so happy to have them back.”

Service manager Naomi said how she has used communications tool Boardmaker to provide accessible information and visual support for members. She said: “I have found Boardmaker a really useful resource and I enjoy any opportunity to be creative. We have been able to design and share accessible information to all of our members around how the service will look on their return and to explain the new guidelines.

“Boardmaker has also been very useful when providing outreach support, for example one member was finding it difficult to understand why he wasn’t able to come to On Track to use the IT suite, so we created a social story on Boardmaker using his own photos which explained the structure of his outreach support session and this was very successful for him. I really like how Boardmaker allows you to create personalised information that is accessible and can be tailored to the individual. Once you start using it can very easily become addictive!”