1st September 2020

As lockdown measures are relaxed, our charity has started to reopen its day service buildings for adults with learning disabilities.

Back in March 2020 following advice from the government and Public Health England, all of our day services had to close, but this week our Birkdale and Fitzalan Howard centres in Worthing have reopened their doors.

Seb Deborde, Learning Disabilities Manager, said: “My staff and I are absolutely thrilled that our centres have reopened and we will be able to support the people who need us the most once again.

“Although we had to close our day centres during the lockdown period, we have continued to offer support to the people who use our services and their relatives and carers through a variety of different ways. These included weekly phone calls to check on peoples’ wellbeing and provide support where needed, a new Facebook group called GoFab, where people from all our learning disabilities services were able to access support and information, and share what they had been up to during lockdown, as well as providing regular one to one outreach support for 12 people in their own homes, to provide respite for their families and carers during the lockdown period.”

Megan, a Birkdale client using the centre Sammy, a Birkdale client using the centres magic carpet with a Guild Care staff member

Birkdale clients Megan and Sammy make use of the centre's 'Magic Carpet'

Since the beginning of the lockdown we have followed advice from the government and are now able to provide a Covid-19 safe environment for a small number of people at our Birkdale and Fitzalan Day Centres. Both services have opened in a phased way, initially working up to a maximum of 50% of their pre-lockdown capacities, to enable social distancing to be maintained. We have also had to reduce our transport to and from the services due to the challenges of minimising risk on shared minibuses.

Seb added: “The parents’ response has been very positive, although some are feeling quite anxious, which is quite understandable. But for many there is a feeling that they are at long last heading back to a more normal life. It is great to see the stress families have been going through during lockdown beginning to dissipate as we reopen our services, and the smile on the faces of the people we support as they saw some of their friends again was lovely to see!”

If you would like to know more about our services for people with learning disabilities, please call our Customer Service team on 01903 327327, email [email protected] or visit www.guildcare.org/learningdisabilities.

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