From early August, we will start to deliver Activity & Learning Hub on a trial basis to a small number of students at Norfolk Lodge. For the safety of everyone, this is going to be a very careful and controlled process, we cannot deliver all of our services from our building straight away. As we have done throughout lockdown, we will carry on delivering services remotely and keeping in regular contact with our members and carers.

We have carried out individual risk assessments for all of our ALH members to help us identify who can safely return at this time. We have spoken to these members and their families to make arrangements for their return.

ALH is the only service that will be delivered in August at Norfolk Lodge and only to a limited number of people, who we have agreed this with.

Here are the ways that we are making our building and services safer:

  • We have carried out a risk assessment on our building and our services to identify what we can and cannot do, and what changes we must make to increase safety and reduce the risk of spreading germs.
  • In July a specialist industrial cleaning company will be ‘deep cleaning’ the entire building including ‘fogging’ which kills all but 0.0001% of germs and is the most effective form of cleaning. Following this we will have thorough and regular cleaning by our excellent team of housekeepers.
  • All members of staff will have Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and will be trained in how to use it.
  • We will have a one-way system in the building and other social distancing measures in place wherever possible.
  • During our trial of ALH, we will small numbers of members in each room and we will have a limited number of staff in the building at any one time. We do not have capacity for any volunteers to come back at this stage.

We are in regular contact with the local health authority, Sheffield City Council and other learning disability support services, as well as following government guidance, to inform our re-opening plans. We have also carried out risk assessments for every member of staff and they are all very much looking forward to seeing our members again!

Image of a sink in a kitchen with a sign above the sink reading Please make sure you wash your hands in large lettering

Staying connected

Until we can deliver more services from our building, we have lots of exciting things happening remotely and virtually. Lots of this has been made possible by funding from the National Lottery Community Fund which has enabled us to invest in new IT systems so we can do more remotely and online.

This includes:

– Regular activities and video tutorials published on our Facebook page and a collection of nearly 100 videos from staff and volunteers, all with fun and interesting things for you to do at home. These include workouts, quizzes, baking, drawing, scavenger hunts, dancing and much, much more.

– Weekly virtual ALH sessions delivered on Zoom and supported by paper-based learning materials sent by post where IT facilities aren’t available.

– We have posted out almost 100 free exercise and activity packs to members, containing guided fitness activities and equipment.

– Visiting service for members to keep in contact and provide activities on a face-to-face socially distanced basis.

– ‘Gateway Live’ streamed on our Facebook page every other week (check our Facebook page for the date of the next Gateway Live session), featuring an activity that you can join in with, an interview with a special guest and a live call in, so you can have a chat with our host, Liv!

– ‘Thank Gateway it’s Live’, a Facebook livestream for our younger members and their siblings, every other Friday evening with TGIF leader, Liv.

– Weekly online meetups for carers and their relative with a learning disability, delivered by our Carers Outreach Project team. These are delivered on Zoom and include a bingo and quiz morning, a ‘dancercise’ session and a doodling group – all are informal and fun, and if just want to join for a cuppa and a chat, that’s fine too!

Our Chief Executive, Janet Sullivan, says:

“We are very keen to open more services to more members, but only when it is safe to do so. Our priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy, whether that’s gradually enabling our members to come back to Norfolk Lodge in a careful and controlled way, or to carry on being creative and flexible in reaching people whilst they stay safe and protected at home.”