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VASL’s response to Covid-19 Posted on Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Like most of the country VASL has been through major changes as we adapted to the impact of Covid-19.

Support for Carers

The Support for Carers phone line has been very busy as Covid-19 has put a huge strain on carers, who lost a lot of their informal support when they had to shield.
Thanks to zoom the groups have continued and some people who can’t leave those they care for have been able to join in from home.

We are recruiting telephone ‘befrienders‘ to support Carers.

VASL Car Scheme

The Car Scheme is now operating again but is only able to offer long distance hospital appointments, the local journeys are restricted to Covid Vaccinations.  We will be able to increase the number of journeys as more of our drivers receive their second vaccine and return to driving with us.  

Some of the drivers have been helping the Jubilee Food-bank with deliveries during the last year and this has been really apprectiated by many people in the community.

We have been donated masks which our drivers will have in stock when journeys resume, so that no one will be refused a journey because they don’t have one.

Covid Activity Bag and Contents
VASL Activity Bag ready for distribution

We are delivering Activity Bags to clients of the Car Scheme and Community Champions who live alone and who don’t have access to online services. 
This is thanks to National Lottery Community Fund which is prioritising funding for communities affected by COVID-19

My Mind Matters

My Mind Matters staff have been supporting clients over the phone and through daily well being sessions on zoom.

Community Champions

Community Champions our existing volunteers all switched to phone calls, and we welcomed new volunteers and clients, all keen to make connections. 

We have been able to recruit and train new volunteers, using new practices, but still maintaining our standards.  We are keen to have more volunteers who could make a phone call once a week to an older person who lives on their own. 

Our penpals continue writing and some are from Welland Park Academy.

We have monthly Zoom gatherings and clients who are new to Zoom are encouraged to join a mini zoom supported by a digital volunteer. 
Some of our volunteers have begun to visit their clients in the garden again following fairly strict guidelines and we have had two meetings outside Torch House for groups of six volunteers.

Young Carers

Young Carers have been meeting online, experiencing scavenger hunts, pictionary and quizzes. 
They received a couple of activity bags and regularly receive items for games and cookery through the post which are used in the online sessions
.

Additional Work

Business Support and the Car Scheme covered all of the additional work from the beginning of the lockdown, co-ordinating new volunteers, referrals and amassing information which changed and grew at an amazing rate as the whole county swung into action.  There has been a lot of work behind the scenes writing risk assessments, making sure that the technology is working and keeping our links with the Council and other partners.

Our volunteer Trustees have increased the regularity of their meetings as they respond to the changes in Government Guidelines. 

For details of our current volunteering opportunities click here

What about the staff? 

Well we’ve all been working at home thanks to our amazing technology, but just now and then we have managed a staff meeting (pictured Community Champions and the Car Scheme).

Please do get in touch with us on our usual numbers, things are different but we are still on the end of the phone to help and support our community.