Caring in a Crisis: day centres launch new YouTube channel

Adult Social Care currently supports over 6,000 people every day. The safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people in Oxfordshire continues to be a priority during these unprecedented times.

Social distancing rules may change the way care is delivered but social care workers are going above and beyond to support people on the front-line, while observing social distancing rules and using the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

We are sharing a series of stories called ‘caring in a crisis’ to praise our colleagues and highlight the magnificent work taking place behind the scenes that support people who are vulnerable.

Since the lockdown begun on Friday 23 March, the team of 25 Support Workers have mobilised to proactively organise daily welfare calls to support the government message: stay home and stay safe.

The team have gone above and beyond to come up with new ideas every day, to provide a versatile and bespoke service that caters for people who rely on them.   

Here, the Redlands Banbury Community Support Service share their experience of reacting to the coronavirus outbreak:

A new Youtube channel launches 

Technology platforms are now used to provide essential care for people's physical and emotional well-being, to encourage the day centre visitors to communicate and to simply have fun.

To keep in touch, the team perform ‘welfare calls’ to reduce the risk to staff and to keep people safe and in contact. Jennifer Farrell is a Team Leader at  Redlands‘we call our day centre guests to ask how they are, if they have any problems and need anything. Sometimes we help with tasks such as collecting prescriptions, doing the weekly grocery shop and directing people to mental health resources and support that links to local providers. We don’t want people to feel isolated or unwell when we can still be a friendly presence’

For the welfare calls, there is a traffic light chart system to keep in touch with people and gauge how much support is needed. If a person is marked as ‘green’ -this means they are doing great, ‘amber’ means some extra care and attention is needed and ‘red’ means the person will need dedicated support.

The coronavirus has presented an opportunity to communicate in different ways to match the needs of our vulnerable people. Some people like emails, others like to write and send homemade postcards and sometimes people like speak via video calls to connect.

A new 'Redlands CSS' (Community Support Service) YouTube channel has launched so people can log on daily to watch singing, get involved with quizzes and receive companionship.

Jennifer joined the Redlands team 17 years ago: 

‘The thing I love about my job is that I get to make a difference and it feels great to be supported by colleagues, really inspirational in fact! This is a challenging time because everyone is told to stay home, and we miss our friends. We are a service where people can integrate and be themselves and we run a variety of activities, so we are doing our best to keep business as usual. Our users and relatives have given us fantastic feedback about the YouTube channel to encourage us to keep adding more videos.

Community Support Services – more than a building

There are eight Community Support Services across Oxfordshire offering tailored support activities for adults who have a learning disability, ageing health needs, physical disability, dementia or mental health needs.

The services make sure people have independence (where possible) choice and control over their lives and offer them the opportunity to be involved in how the service works.

Presented as a front of house service, the Banbury community support service aka Day Centre supports a total of 52 adults who have various needs. The facility usually welcomes between 20 – 30 visitors who voluntarily choose to spend their time at the facility, every day with ages ranging from 18 to 93 years old. The team are passionate about making a positive difference to everyone who walks through the door - such as Ilaine.

Meet Ilainestaff have become like extra family

Ilaine is 55 years old, she has learning difficulties and she has made friends with different age groups during her eight years of visiting Redlands Community Support Service, every day.

Tanya is Ilaine’s sister-in-law and she is grateful for the team who offer daily respite care:

‘They are a superb team and the team do a phenomenal job, they make our lives better. I’m able to go out and work as an approved mental health professional because I know Ilaine is in good hands. This means I can contribute to society to go out and work, thanks to the staff who look after Ilaine because she can talk to them about anything, so the staff have become like family. She is missing her friends now, but the team are making an effort to fill the gap’.

Ilaine refers to the day centre as ‘going to work’ because she feels the day of activities gives her a clear purpose and structure to the day while providing a social and friendly setting.

Tanya says: ‘the staff help her with skills such as going swimming, pampering sessions and Ilaine is keen to help staff with cooking and light admin tasks in the office. The highlight of her week is going to the pub on a Friday afternoon – just like everyone else after a long week at ‘work’’.

'While we stay at home, a Support Worker will phone Ilaine every day and they have sent activity packs that includes seeds, puzzles, games, pictures. It’s a vital part of her physical and social well-being -I could not have coped without them. They are consistent and always there which is vital for me as Ilaine’s carer'.

Thank you to the versatile Support Team!

The people who receive assitance are led by a team of 25 Support Workers who are praised for keeping vulnerable people entertained and connected. The role of the Support Worker is an extremely skilled and vital role.

Support Workers are highly trained with a detailed knowledge of dealing with people who have communication and autism challenges or perhaps they need help taking medication. Support Workers help people to eat and drink and provide personal care.

For more information:

While the day centre is closed to the public, a respite service is available for keyworkers who must go out for essential work. This allows particular vulnerable people to access a limited day service while adhering to social distancing rules with distanced activity tables for art projects and watching films to stay safe.

The Community Support Services take place across eight locations which include Abingdon, Bicester, Didcot, Oxford, Wallingford, Wantage and Witney – please enquire here to find out more.

If you or someone you know is currently shielding during the coronavirus – please read this information about a phone line that can be accessed to seek support.