As the 1st anniversary of Covid-19 approaches we wanted to take a look back on a memorable year for Social Eyes, a daily service dedicated to vulnerable adults with learning difficulties/autism working from Harding Avenue, Rawmarsh and Social UNITeyes, Parkgate.
During the early pandemic our users were forced to isolate at home while our staff continued to socially distance visit them all delivering activity packs; however, our adults flourish with routine and the disruption of their daily visits to Social Eyes caused a great deal of mental anguish to them, so the visits by staff helped to restore a little routine back in their lives.
Many of our clients attend five days a week and look on Social Eyes as their extended family/social meeting group: this meant the lockdown was a huge disruption for them and their carers. Many have a mental age far below their actual years and struggled with the concept of not being able to meet with their friends and the staff.
Because our rooms were too small to socially distance the service was suspended until the summer months came along when thanks to our partners, Rawmarsh St Josephs Junior Football Club we were offered the use of their pitch high on Stubbin, Rawmarsh.
Meetings up at the KCM Arena a welcome return to partial normality and were enjoyed by all who attending with sports competitions running throughout the summer; our band, The Banned, rehearsed and performed on the pitch as a back drop. One of the highlights of the summer activities was the welly-wanging competition which is set to become a regular feature of our sports.
Over the year bright colourful logos were added to the exterior fencing of Harding Avenue and in the winter moths the illuminated snowmen, made from donated tyres by AP Tyres, Parkgate proved to be a welcome sight to the many walkers who have now included our buildings into their daily walks.
Many brightly coloured Social Eyes birds joined The Flock art exhibition on the lawns at Wentworth Woodhouse to mark Covid-19
Birthdays always highly celebrated at Social Eyes were moved to the home doorstep, but the cake each person receives were still delivered.
We had a limited service in the winter months, before the second wave closed us again, and a presentation of toys was made to the Hallam FM child.
Now here we are on the 21st March 2021 we were able to safely re-open our service with for the next month a revised shortened service, to allow a slow and safe transition to a more normal looking provision after Easter.
This return did however highlight the problem of vaccination for our users or rather their inability to access the vaccine. Despite being classed as extremely vulnerable when lockdown was instigated there was no provision for an early vaccination.
It was discovered that they should be on a learning difficulty register which would have meant instant vaccination. If their doctors have not added them to the register then they would need to wait for their age group to trigger the call for the jab.
Step forward our band of parents and carers who challenged their doctors/local government to bring these registers up to date and so enable our users to receive jabs. This has now been achieved and vaccination is in full swing.
Meanwhile, the guys are clearing overgrown paths and lawns up at our Harding Avenue hub.
Day trips out have resumed.
On 22nd March 2021 we will return to full service with, I’m sure lots of celebrations, activities indoors and out and a hope that there will be no third wave.
Why not access our website: https://socialeyesrotherham.co.uk/ and follow the adventures we have already been on and the ones we hope to continue on this year.