Enable Ability and Coronavirus
I am writing to all participants, their parents and carers, service commissioners, staff and volunteers to explain the charity’s responses to the coronavirus outbreak. At the heart of our decisions are the safety and welfare of our communities alongside the much needed support that Enable Ability provides to our participants and their carers.
The charity has reviewed our services which fall broadly into 4 blocks:
- group activities at fixed venues (Saturday Club and Holiday Play-Schemes)
- group activities at differing venues (Junior Club, Youth Schemes and Teenage Projects)
- 1:1 activity (Befriending and Advocacy)
- public facing activity (Landport and Inter Activ)
The play-schemes are dependent on venues being available and sufficient staff in place to provide them. Government has advised that Special School provision is exempt from the school closure programme, and it is our intention to continue with the Saturday and School Holiday provision in partnership with Solent Academies Trust. Our managers are engaged in finalising the Easter play-scheme, and the ongoing Saturday club. Provision is of course dependent on sufficient staff being available, so final arrangements will be communicated to you. Parents and carers will need to decide if they wish their child to attend based on all the available national and local guidance relating to coronavirus
The youth schemes, teenage projects, junior club and wheelchair basketball will not continue for the time being in their current form. Project leaders will seek to provide some “open air” activities such as walks and rural pursuits but most of the venues that have been used are now closed. Our staff are putting together programmes for the Easter holiday period, and once finalised will be communicated to participants and their carers. Project leaders have been asked to stay in touch with participants, form WhatsApp groups, and look to other ways to maintain contact during this period
1:1 activity through befriending for children and adults will continue subject to checks being undertaken by our staff that participants, parents and carers wish this to continue, and neither the family nor the befriender are exhibiting any coronavirus symptoms or have been knowingly exposed to people with the virus. Befriending will be managed predominantly in the family home, or in safe outdoor spaces, for the time being, and subject to the befriender being available. Advocacy will not continue at this time, but kept under review.
Landport Community Centre is now closed at least until 30th April 2020. All activities therein will cease. This follows similar decisions by the City Council in relation to its Community Centres, and from National Guidance. We are working with the Hive and other voluntary organisations to determine if our kitchen facilities could be of use to the local community through providing meals whilst other activities such as local schools, are closed. We will update you as soon as possible on this offer, and other ways in which Enable Ability can support the community.
Inter Activ, our social enterprise promoting employability skills, will cease whilst Landport is closed. We are also unable to offer experience at Weald and Downland Museum at the present time. Our skills coaches will remain in contact with participants during this period of closure to offer befriending support. Group walks will also be offered to provide stimulation and reduce isolation.
Trustees and staff recognise how difficult the coming weeks and months will be for our families, and we will do all we can to support you within the national guidance available. This is likely to change, so we cannot guarantee that our services will run. It is also extremely important that carers and participants weigh up the risks of accessing services during this time. Our managers are available to discuss any concerns you may have to assist in decision making about using our services and support
Finally, on behalf of Enable Ability, we wish you all safe passage and good health through these troubling times
Chair of Trustees