Are we near the end of Lockdown? When will it end? These are the questions that this week dominate the national conversation, as the media speculates that some of the measures may end in the next few weeks. Conjecture suggests that some of the lockdown measures may gradually be eased. However, whether this will happen, and if so what this will look like, and to what extent will the lockdown be lifted, are very much unknown.
We at Affinity are beginning to plan our exit strategy from the current conditions, to ensure we can react in a way that is safe and timely. What we do know is that some things implemented during the lockdown, including for many, the forced implementation of virtual meetings, have been incredibly positive and welcome. It has brought families and friends together and offered support and reassurance to us all. It also offers a view into alternative ways of working, and Affinity are reviewing the positives from this time, to bring with us on the road to a new normal, whenever that might be.
Andy Robins, Assistant Director.
Affinity are at full strength in our staffing levels, we are happy to report. Staff remain working from home. We do have one family isolating due to a suspected case of Covid-19 at school, but this is a precautionary measure with no symptoms shown by anyone in the home.
In addition to the recent training made available online for Effective Homeworking, Isolation Adult Wellbeing, and Depression and Suicide, we will shortly be releasing more online training in LGBT Fostering, Equality and Diversity Fostering and Alcohol Awareness Advanced Level.
Looking further ahead, in June, with social distancing anticipated to still be in place, we are moving our Mental Health face to face training to “Zoom” platform training sessions, delivered by a specialist outside trainer. These training sessions will be made available to each and every household, and the Administration team will be in touch soon to organise attendees.
This extended time in lockdown has, in many circumstances, forced us to embrace new ways of working, and embracing technology. We are reviewing the impact and benefits of using platforms like Zoom and Skype for things like supervision and ongoing communication and meetings, and we will be reviewing how the Virtual Training session goes in June, with a view to perhaps offering more of this type of training in the future. As always, your thoughts and feelings about these things are really welcome, and we will be seeking feedback to try and enhance what we can offer you in the future!
Last week we stated that all face to face activities are being postponed through May, but the likelihood is that group meetings, in particular large group meetings, will continue to be barred under ongoing Government Coronavirus social distancing measures, which could last for the rest of 2020, or when an effective immunisation is created and effectively rolled out. In the public arena, things like sporting fixtures crowds and large music gigs will most likely be affected, and we at Affinity have to plan our calendar similarly.
Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we will be cancelling this years young persons’ activity holiday to Alton Towers, provisionally book for August this year, and we are looking to push back our Foster Carers conference out of 2020, and into the 1st half of 2021. Both of these measures are done with safety, for you, your families and the young people you care for, as our number one priority. Having a large group of young people together, surrounded by lots of other people in a theme park, and in regards to the conference, all of our foster carers in one place at one time, is a large risk to all if coronavirus is still circulating in our communities. However, we will be rearranging the conference for as soon as can done so safely.
Our social media continues to remain open and providing useful content, including sites and links for educational matter and interesting activities during this time, on our Instagram page and Facebook page. We are also, and will be providing more, useful blogs with similarly useful content and pieces to read of interest, so stay connected and tuned in!