Our COVID-19 response
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been supporting our Members, their families, and our Buddy volunteers.
From the start of the coronavirus outbreak, we quickly adapted our service to meet our communities needs. This helped mitigate the profound impact of lockdown whilst following UK government guidelines to help reduce the spread of the virus.
We are committed to continue protecting our community and will keep their wellbeing at the heart of what we do!
How have we adapted our service?
- Timely updates
Updates on government changes to social distancing measures.
- Technical support
Helping Members set up the technology so they can do video chats.
- Risk and safety assessments
Thorough risk and safety assessments of our processes and procedures.
- Regular contact
Reassurance and advice for our Members and Buddies who have concerns about visits, procedures and guidelines.
- Practical and local support
Fully trained and vetted Buddies are able to step in during emergency situations such as food shopping, medication collection, small care package delivery or laundry pick up. This was particularly important as some family members were unable to offer support due to lockdown restrictions.
- Social support
When face-to-face visits are not possible, Buddies offer emotional support through phone calls, postcards and letters. They also sourced and supplied materials for Members' hobbies.
- Buddy replacements
Quick replacement cover for Buddies who have to self-isolate. This shows the strength of our model, creating supportive groups and alleviating pressure from Buddies who are facing their own challenges.
- New service guidelines
Policies, advice and instructions on how our service can operate to adhere to government guidance and abide by social distancing.
- Community bonding
Virtual Buddy-to-Buddy matching, a Facebook group and cheery newsletters to lift the spirits during lockdown.
- Personalised approach
Individualised support to Members and Buddies to safely resume visits when possible, especially for Members who have been shielding.
What people say
Buddies have been wonderful to me, we have all decided to stop visits and do phone calls instead in the meantime. I can’t wait to see them when it’s safe!
All of the Buddies have stepped up and offered to do calls and shopping. One Buddy popped over and we were speaking through the letterbox! She also posted a facemask which I thought was extremely thoughtful!
I feel very down if I don’t stay in touch with people and I’m alone. I have no family around to help me, but the Buddies have kindly offered to bring shopping for me.
My nan showed me the letter you [the Buddy] sent, it really lifted her spirits, thanks a lot!
Grandson of Member
At the moment my mother is self-isolating and only my sister is arranging her shopping but obviously spending very limited time with her, which is difficult but necessary as she is very vulnerable. It’s very kind of the buddies to offer to send her postcards, she will enjoy them.
Daughter of Member
I chatted with her from the pavement (more than 2 metres away) while she sat by her open window. It worked well. I’m planning to see her and take some lunch and sit with her again this Sunday.
She seemed a bit low when we started, said she was feeling a bit stressed with lockdown and a bit lonely but seemed brighter by the end of the chat. Said she’s going to try get into her knitting which she hasn’t done for a while to see if it helps as a bit of a distraction!
We sat down on the deck, caught up, and we even had a cheeky visitor (🐱) that was super friendly, and made her really happy! I have to say, it took me ages to leave her house as she seemed to be having a really good time 😊
Since July, we have been slowly returning our Friendship Wheel services to as near normal as possible and are implementing our revised risk and safety assessments before meeting with new Members, their families and Buddies.
We are confident that our new policies, up-to-date visit guidance and adapted procedures are keeping our community safe.