The lockdown was long and challenging for many of the people we support, particularly with most activities, work and volunteering cancelled, shops and cafes shut and no visits from friends and family.
However, our staff worked incredibly hard to ensure people we support remained happy, busy and connected with loved ones. Support workers kept families updated and for those that were happy to do so, we made sure technology like tablets and laptops were available for Zoom and Facetime calls.
And, like everyone else in lockdown, some of the people we support excelled in learning incredible new skills. We’ve selected a few examples of how people used this unexpected break in routine to reveal new talents.
Brian loves to cook and was hoping to get a job in a café before the pandemic struck. However, rather than worrying about missed opportunities, he has used the past year to hone his cooking skills, get more creative and even write his own recipe book. Much to the delight of his housemates!
“I love cooking and I love sharing the food I cook with others,” explains Brian. “So, I’ve spent the past year sharing my passion with my housemates. I have learnt to cook fish pie, chicken stir fry, gnocchi and my favourite, chicken casserole, to name a few.
“I have also learnt how to buy the exact ingredients that I need for each recipe and work out the amount that I need to cook for five people. The feedback from my housemates and staff has been amazing and I feel much more confident in my ability.”
As cafés and restaurants have now reopened, Brian is once again looking to find a job in catering.. Until then, Brian is working on refining his techniques, much to his housemates’ delight!
Afternoon tea with homemade cakes has been a regular fixture at a houses in Hammersmith and Fulham for some time and this weekly ritual continued through lockdown. With extra time on their hands, all the bakers at the house – with some support from their team – took the chance to try new recipes and enhance their baking skills.
Janet and her fellow housemates demonstrated their baking skills with some amazing results recently at Halloween.
“Baking and decorating cupcakes helps me feel more relaxed, and happier. I enjoyed decorating a variety of Halloween themed cupcakes with my friends. I am looking forward to doing more and learning new recipes.”
Maura Ireland, Certitude’s Market Shaper and Contract Co-ordinator, has been impressed with what she’s seen (and tasted!):
“It’s been wonderful to watch the progress of these bakers… The support team have really run with developing people’s talents, by holding cake decorating workshops and jam making sessions. Friends and family noticed a real difference when were able to come around after lockdown had eased.”
Amazing Halloween bakes!
Having moved to Shepherd’s Bush three years ago, Raymond found the confidence to take a voluntary position working at the local British Heart Foundation charity shop in January 2020. Despite the ups and downs of lockdown he’s enjoying his newfound independence.
Raymond explains: “When I first started, I was very nervous but also excited to try something new. I was supported by my support worker and we both learnt the skills required to fulfil my role. After three months we went into our first lockdown, so I wasn’t able to continue with my job, which was very hard as I really enjoyed it. I have now just started back and it’s great. I am very excited; it feels like we are finally coming out of the woods, and I can safely socialise and interact with all our customers again.
“I never thought then that I would have the confidence and skills to be a valued member of a work team, but I was wrong. My strength is that I work well with others and have a good rapport with people. Starting something new can be scary but when you take the first few steps, every day gets easier. You learn new skills, meet new people and realise your potential.”
Raymond outside the British Heart Foundation shop where he works