Our charitable services and projects celebrate Learning Disability Week 2020

May 20, 2020 Blog - ENABLE Scotland Nicole Forsyth - Delivery Manager (Charitable Services)

This year, Scottish Learning Disability Week looks very different, with the country still under lockdown restrictions as we continue with the national effort to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.  Whilst things feel different this year, we are still just as delighted to be celebrating Scottish Learning Disability Week 2020 – it gives a fantastic opportunity to share what our members,; projects, ; and charitable services are doing across Scotland to help keep people connected, informed, and most importantly; safe during the current crisis.

Our team in Fife – We Can All Do It Project – are using this week for a mixture of fun and learning.  Resident celebrity, Layla Cooke, will be leading the team in ‘sign-along’ and poetry sessions – written by the ever talented Layla herself – with pupils from local Glenrothes College getting involved in the fun.  They will be following in the lofty footsteps of singer Lewis Capaldi in the list of people Layla has taught to sign!

Our LAC team in East Renfrewshire have been really embracing their ‘Communi-Teas’ this week, making the most out of this newly found technical knowledge we all have to ‘Zoom’ in and have a cuppa and a chat on Monday for the start of Scottish Learning Disability Week 2020 – and, just like the old coffeehouses of the 19th and early 20th centuries, these ‘Communi-Tea’ sessions proved to be quite the Hub for interesting and exciting new ideas; particularly around how to ease boredom during lockdown. One of the members even came on and taught the team and members some origami!

Our LAC team in Midlothian have been speaking to their members and collecting their stories for Learning Disability Week 2020 through wonderful videos. The videos show what members have been missing during lockdown as well as how their LAC team and peers have helped them cope during a really difficult time. One member even recorded herself reading a poem she had written which was really moving.

Like everybody else in the UK (or even the world), our Local Area Coordination teams have had to seriously adapt their current offering.  With so many of our most basic necessities taken away from us in an effort to help save lives, the teams in East Renfrewshire and Midlothian have been forced to come up with some truly innovative new ways to connect with the people they support.  This includes small, logistical things which have had a massive impact; such as the creation of daily and weekly schedules.  This allows support delivery to be as efficient and as seamless as possible in the current situation and gives the team even more time to be able to focus on the more important issues at hand, like supporting people to access the latest Government guidance and community resources or to assist in the search for funding which individuals and families may need.  The LAC teams have also been helping with things like organising the best ways in which to deliver schoolwork and teaching from home as well as important future and emergency planning.  Sometimes though, the team are there simply for a friendly chat and a listening ear, a thing which we can all agree makes all the difference at times like these.

There are times when people just simply feel lonely, isolated and anxious about everything that’s going on and our LAC teams will always do their best to provide that much needed outlet.  The Midlothian LAC Facebook page is a great way for people to keep in touch and share information and ideas on how to stay busy – as well as being great fun! The page hasn’t been going long, but, is already a popular way for people to keep in touch, maintain their friendships and share their skills and ideas.  LAC group members have posted their own comedy sessions; recipes; competitions, hobbies and more!

ENABLE Scotland’s Welfare Rights service has also had to adapt in the face of changing circumstances.  A new dedicated inbox for referrals and requests has been established to be used for assistance with benefit claims and other welfare rights advice.  This has helped remind members that the service is here to support them with their benefits, whether this be new claims, appeals, or to better understand letters they may have received.  While this invaluable service has always been available to members, it is also now available to ENABLE Scotland staff members as well as their families.  This is a completely new service and has been a tremendous help to staff, most of whom have never been in a position such as this before where they are being forced to consider benefits advice due to their current situation with furlough schemes, potential redundancies etc.  This is the perfect example of how all departments, teams and individual staff members at ENABLE Scotland are doing their very best to ensure that, despite all that is going on around us, we remain connected to one another and are always ready to lend a hand in support; no matter what!

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