Dear parents, carers and family members,
As we’re moving through lockdown, we know from speaking with many of you that this has been more difficult than previous lockdowns, so we wanted to update you about our current activities and support available for you and your families. The announcement about the easing of restrictions is a welcome one and we’re also starting to work on our plans for what activities and services will look like over the next few months. We always welcome any feedback so please do let us know if there’s anything that you think is particularly important for us to focus on.
Support for you
Our family support service is still running, and we’ve expanded to provide more support during this difficult time. If you need any practical support or information such as help filling out forms, checking benefits, accessing social care or planning for the future then just get in touch. We also have our new carers groups to help connect you with other carers and for a little bit of time for your wellbeing. If you’d like to join us just let us know.
- Carers’ Coffee and Chat – Wednesdays 2pm-3pm
- Carers’ Stretch and relaxation – Tuesdays 10am-11am
Activities and Groups
We’ve now got a total of 11 zoom groups running every week and monthly sessions such as Tai Chi and baking! We’ve tried to make sure that we’ve got something that everyone will enjoy from walking to dancing, film club to relaxation and there’s something on every day. If your loved one would like to join a group, please get in touch.
It’s important to us that we hear your views to make sure that the services and support that we offer is what you need and also to help us keep improving services. This will also help us feedback to our funders and to attract new funding for services. To help us do this we would be grateful if you could share your views via our annual Carers Survey at: www.bexleymencap.org.uk/carers-survey
Pathways Project with Bexley Council
As you know we are working on the Pathways Project with Bexley Council to redesign how members and carers are assessed for services. As part of this project the council have asked us, and the other consortium charities, to get in touch with carers to see if there’s any additional support that you need. They know that this is a very difficult time and want to make sure that you are supported in your role as a carer but recognise that lots of you already know us and the other charities well. We already speak to lots of you regularly, but Kathryn will be getting in touch to see if there’s any extra support we can provide.
Keeping Up to Date
We’re working on relaunching our newsletters to make sure that we can share latest news and information about our activities quicker and more efficiently with you all. Please subscribe to our mailing list to keep up to date, our first newsletter will be coming out soon! You can subscribe at the bottom of our website or by going to this address: http://eepurl.com/gVck8H
Exciting new Digital Project!
We’ve received additional funding from both Royal Mencap and the CCG to provide tablets as well as training and support to members and carers who would like to get online. We’ll be covering the basics of using the internet and also helping people to use Zoom, do online shopping or online banking. If you would like to get some support using the internet then please get in touch.
It is great news that Bexley is one of the boroughs that is furthest ahead in rolling out the Covid Vaccine programme, but we know from speaking to you that there are still things that could improve experiences for carers and people with learning disabilities. We’ve been working hard to feedback to, and work with, the CCG and council to make sure that your views are heard and to influence positive changes.
The priority list for vaccines has been decided by central Government and surgeries were asked to start vaccinations with groups 1-4. Bexley achieved this by the 15th February target date, but some surgeries began their vaccination programme before others so may have moved on to other groups earlier. NHS England have now asked all surgeries to start vaccinating people in groups 5 onwards. As people with profound and severe learning disabilities are included in group 6, this means that more families should be contacted soon to arrange their vaccinations.
I’m sure you will have also seen the fantastic news that people with mild to moderate learning disabilities are now also included in Priority Group 6. This means that everybody on the Learning Disability List at their GP surgery will start being invited for the vaccine soon. If you are not sure whether your loved one is on the register you can check with your GP to make sure. Carers are also eligible for vaccines in this group as well so if you are unsure it is also worth making sure that you are listed as a carer with either your GP or Adult Social Care too. If you have any queries or concerns, please get in touch as we’re speaking regularly with the Council and CCG about this important issue.
My next update will be included in our new newsletter which we hope you find useful. If you have any questions or need any support or information then please don’t hesitate to get in touch,