Marie Curie has organised a National Day of Reflection, designed to help us come together to “reflect on our collective loss, support those who’ve been bereaved, and hope for a brighter future”. In recognition of this, many of us will be taking part in a minute’s silence at midday and reflecting on the last year. You can learn about the Day of Reflection here.
We first went into national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic one year ago. It’s been a strange and difficult year, one in which we have all had to adapt our lives and do what we can to protect ourselves and others
Lockdown hasn’t just affected us as individuals but as an organisation; we had to learn, listen and grow, very quickly. We couldn’t have done any of this without the tireless determination of our teams.
From the Coronavirus Task Team forming to guide our organisation by adapting and passing on key information as quickly as they could, to our activity teams learning how to use new technology and deliver support in a brand new way, we have seen innovation and creativity in every corner of Certitude over the last year. You can read about this work and much more in our Annual Review 2020.
While we reflect, we want to take the time to remember the people we supported and worked with who we lost in the last year; you can read about some of them here, through the words of their loved ones.
We asked some Certitude people to reflect on what the last year has been like for them, and what they are looking forward to as restrictions start to lift:
Alice R., Manager
Alice, a manager at one of our houses in Harrow, told us what the people she supports have been up to:
Fiona has enjoyed the Connect & Do arts and craft session on Zoom. She has also managed to knit a baby blanket and is in the process of knitting a bedspread for herself; she has also completed around 25 puzzles in the last year!
Christopher moved in with us in February this year. He said “I am very, extremely happy at my new house!” He has also become a Zoom expert and talks to his sister weekly via the house iPad.
Colin said he had the “best birthday in lockdown”. He had a cake and his favourite party food and music to dance to in the kitchen.
As a manager, I’m so pleased everyone we now support has had their first vaccination and are all booked in for the second dose. This year is already looking brighter and has given us all the boost to really enjoy the summer ahead!
Helen Cairns, Treat Me Right! Manager
It’s hard to comprehend a year of lockdown. It’s been a year of long days and short months. Time seems to stagnate as the day stretches out in front of us, but months fly by as we find new milestones to mark them with. A weekend away, haircuts, a chance to browse in a shop or the chance to see a loved one in an open space.
Very sadly, our team lost a member during the year, and it’s easy to just focus on what we have lost, but I like to try to think about what I’ve gained too. My team have learned so many skills using online technology and we’ve found ways to work together while keeping to the rules. I have been able to offer my time to work on the COVID Task Team, using Treat Me Right!’s knowledge and experience of working alongside hospitals and creating and sourcing easy read materials to help people we support and beyond. On a personal level, as much as I don’t enjoy the isolation of working from home, the time and energy not commuting has afforded me as a disabled person is significant.
Rhona L., Practice Projects Coodinator
If someone has told me a year ago that I would be facilitating an online Zoom disco for people we support and the wider community every Monday morning I would have laughed. But that is what I am doing, and it is a great start to my week! This last year being able to be involved in the Connect & Do community programme has allowed me to learn new skills, engage with people we support as well as the community and peer facilitators, and become involved in things I would not have been doing otherwise. Seeing the joy from people joining sessions, as well as hearing from colleagues who have learnt new skills and gained so much from being a part of the programme has really made all the hard work to keep people engaged online worthwhile.
With the easing of restrictions I am most looking forward to being able to meet everyone in person at the next Connect & Do event but also I am looking forward to being able to visit family and friends in Scotland again as I’m worried if I don’t get back soon I will lose my accent!
Anne C., Treat Me Right! trainer
It has been a year today since the national lockdown came into force because of COVID-19. It has been a very horrible year; not meeting people in the flesh, and meetings on Zoom or Microsoft Teams has been hard. Shielding has made my depression worse. Helen, Nat and Aisling Duffy ringing and checking up on me on a day to day basis has helped, as has being a part of my brother’s support bubble.
The Quality Team
Like everyone else, the last year presented us with new challenges around how we work and we had to adapt and change at lightning speed. While we are a central services department, the Quality Team used to regularly visit our colleagues and people we support and we particularly enjoy this aspect of the role – the chance to work collaboratively is a really key part of the job. At times we have felt distanced and limited in our roles as we were used to providing support in more of a hands-on way. Not being able to do this meant that we had to find alternative ways to carry on supporting teams. We learnt to embrace change and to see the opportunities in this – introducing remote auditing, saving time on travel that can be invested in developing skills, and checking in on each other regularly – asking ‘how are you’, and really listening to the answer. We learnt that we are a strong team, with people who can be depended on to support each other and the organisation with the new tasks required as a result of the pandemic.
Ravinder G., Support Worker
There have certainly been some ups and downs – thank goodness for box sets, Zoom and my wife, who has looked after us during this time. I’ve had time to reflect and see myself a little clearer and see others a little clearer.
Bina L., Referral Coordinator
My biggest takeaway from this last year has been the time I have been able to spend with my children; watching them grow and flourish despite going through the pandemic. We’ve lost so much precious time with our loved ones, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and a newly found appreciation for those who are important to us.
Seema S., Fundraising & Corporate Partnerships Manager
The pandemic has made me really appreciate the smaller things in life which seemed so insignificant back then, but which bring me so much joy now. A long walk, a takeaway coffee, a video call with a friend. I’ve had friends and family members who’ve got married, had children, have graduated, and it’s been so strange not to be there and celebrate alongside them, so I’m looking forward to being able to celebrate these milestones. I’ve also very nearly lost loved ones due to the virus which has made me appreciate that life is very unpredictable, and no one is invincible.