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Owen at a Take Charge Event

In the last few weeks we were so happy to have resumed in person activities within the Skills and Wellbeing team, initially 1:1 and now with more than one participant present. The preparation for this has been quite exhaustive: conservation projects have prepared and delivered training sessions, and all risk assessments(individual and activity specific) have been revised. Detailed paperwork has been sent to participants and their families/carers, and agreements have been signed for new guidelines to keep everyone safe. Our staff have been vaccinated and, for as long as they are still recommended, are taking regular lateral flow tests.

What does this mean for Take Charge and its participants?

It means we can finally engage properly with those participants who have been unable to engage (other than by post or by telephone) for the last year. This means they are at last achieving the outcomes they wanted to gain when they joined the project. In addition, we can now offer the project to those individuals who did not want to join until in person support was available again. This is a huge step forward for these participants as they can start improving their journey closer to the workplace. It also means a step forward for their all-round wellbeing.

It’s not clear yet how many group activities Take Charge will be running in person because the social distancing regulations mean that any training which requires staff to be in close proximity to a participant can no longer be delivered. First aid training is no longer able to include practical elements using choking vests and CPR dummies, or practicing the recovery position. Most of our participants have a learning disability and being able to move their hands and arms to the correct position was an essential part of our accessible delivery. Similarly, we cannot offer basic IT training because the rules mean we cannot sit next to someone to help them learn to use a keyboard.

However, the experience of the last year has shown us how important it is to continue to deliver activities online in order to reach the widest range of participants. Enabling people of all eligible abilities and circumstances to benefit from Take Charge is key to the Active Inclusion funding stream, and as of June 2021 we find ourselves in an even better position to meet this goal.

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