On 23rd March 2020, Boris Johnson announced the UK was going into an immediate ‘lockdown’ in an unprecedented step to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). He announced that as a nation, we would only be able to leave our homes for the following reasons:
• Shopping for basic necessities
• One form of exercise a day - either alone or with members of your household
• Medical need or to provide care help vulnerable person
• Travel to work - but only if necessary and you cannot work from home
In addition to this, many of our members fall into a ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category. Some have pre-existing respiratory conditions, heart defects, immunodeficiency, and other complex conditions, and therefore have received government letters asking them to ‘shield’ at home, until the end of July. This situation is being regularly monitored. It has been, without a doubt, an incredibly tough and challenging time for everyone, but especially our members who are medically most vulnerable.
All parents are having to combine parenting roles alongside daily home learning. It is down to the parents now to provide a home routine that combines new learning, new skills, creativity and fun. At the same time, many parents are working remotely from home and caring for siblings. It is full on!
During this time, we have been keeping in regular contact with all our UpsnDowns families. In this time of additional financial and emotional strain, we have been supporting each other through a rota of weekly well-being phone calls. As a charity, we have provided funding for each family to purchase £100 worth of educational resources from DSE (Down’s Syndrome Education International) or alternatively other sensory tools, games and learning kits. We have been funding the delivery of weekly fresh produce boxes to our Northamptonshire families, from local business Collins Produce. The feedback from our families has been wonderful.
During Lockdown, our SALT new programme has been suspended so we have run several online sessions for families to meet our new SALT therapists Melissa and Hayley. Over the coming weeks, they will be delivering further online therapy and training sessions to help to support our members.
We have loved seeing all the wonderful photos and videos from our families, sharing what they have been getting up to, at home, in the garden and out on their daily exercise. The support for each other has been amazing.
Whatever the ‘new normal’ is that we face once lockdown is lifted, we will be able to face it together. Together, we are stronger.