Adapting our service to COVID-19

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have given extra support to all members of our community.

From the start of the coronavirus outbreak, we quickly adapted our service to meet our communities’ needs during this crisis. This helped mitigate the profound impact of lockdown whilst following UK government guidelines to help reduce the spread of the virus.

As we gradually ease out of COVID-19 restrictions, we are committed to continue protecting our community and will keep their wellbeing at the heart of what we do!

How have we adapted our service?

Timely updates

Regular updates on government changes to social distancing measures.

New service guidelines

Policies, advice and instructions on how our service can operate to adhere to government guidance and abide by social distancing.

Risk and safety assessments

Thorough risk and safety assessments of our processes and procedures.

Regular contact

Reassurance and advice for members with concerns about visits, procedures and guidelines.

Practical and local support

Due to our thorough training and vetting, our community could step in to support older members by doing food shopping, collecting medication, delivering small care packages or picking up laundry. This was particularly important when family members were unable to offer support due to lockdown restrictions.

Social support

When face-to-face visits are not possible, our community offers emotional support to older members through phone calls, postcards and letters. They have also stepped up to source and supplied materials for members' hobbies, for example.

Stepping up

Where people needed to self-isolate and couldn’t offer practical support, other community members stepped up. This shows the strength of our model which creates supportive groups and better-connected communities.

Technical support

Helping older members set up technology so they can do video chats.

Community bonding

Virtual member-to-member matching, a Facebook group within our volunteer community and cheery newsletters to lift the spirits during lockdown.

Personalised approach

Individualised support to safely resume visits when possible, especially for individuals who were shielding.

What our community has been saying

I feel very down if I don’t stay in touch with people and I’m alone. I have no family around to help me, but the Buddies have kindly offered to bring shopping for me

Norah

Buddies Emily, Arabella and Alice have been wonderful to me, we have all decided to stop visits and do phone calls instead in the meantime. I can’t wait to see them when it’s safe!

Josie

All of the Buddies have stepped up and offered to do calls and shopping. One Buddy popped over and we were speaking through the letterbox! She also posted a facemask which I thought was extremely thoughtful

Logan

Hiya!! I’m Mary’s grandson, my nan showed me the letter you sent, it really lifted her spirits, thanks a lot!

grandson of member Mary

At the moment my mother is self-isolating and only my sister is arranging her shopping but obviously spending very limited time with her, which is difficult but necessary as she is very vulnerable. It’s very kind of the buddies to offer to send her postcards, she will enjoy them

daughter of member Mary

We sat down on the deck, caught up, and we even had a cheeky visitor (🐱 ) that was super friendly, and made her really happy! I have to say, it took me ages to leave her house as she seemed to be having a really good time 😊

Flo

I chatted with her from the pavement (more than 2metres away) while she sat by her open window. It worked well. I’m planning to see her and take some lunch and sit with her again this Sunday

Chris

She seemed a bit low when we started, said she was feeling a bit stressed with lockdown and a bit lonely but seemed brighter by the end of the chat. Said she’s going to try get into her knitting which she hasn’t done for a while to see if it helps as a bit of a distraction!”

Suzy

Just had a lovely trip to the conservatory garden in Barbican with Roger who was in very good spirits! It’s a great place to go with all the proper precautions in place, and beautiful!”

Alice

What’s next?

We are gradually returning to operating our Friendship Wheel services to as near normal as possible. We implement revised risk and safety assessments before meeting with new members and their families. We look forward to supporting ways for different groups in our community to meet up when restrictions have completely eased.

We are confident that our new policies, up-to-date visit guidance and adapted procedures are keeping our community safe.