Adjusting to the ‘new normal’
The Fircroft Trust is a local charity based in Surbiton providing centre-based support to adults living in the community with mental health challenges or learning disabilities.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a series of challenges that the charity has had to overcome in order to continue providing a service to service users.
When lockdown restrictions were put in place, Fircroft were forced to close their resource centre. This day service, providing activities and therapy to over 85 users with mental health concerns or learning disabilities in the borough of Kingston, was hugely valued by the local community. A further blow came when their two shops in Tolworth and Surbiton were obliged to close. The shops also offered work placements to individuals accessing the charity's services, giving them the opportunity to build their skills, confidence and self-esteem.
Minimising the impact on service users
The Fircroft team explored ways to maintain connections and keep the outlook positive. Strategies, such as making regular phone calls, have helped give individuals who are struggling with their mental health a purpose to their day. Fircroft has worked hard to minimise the impact of the centre's closure with dedicated phone lines and regular phone contact.
Although the re-opening of the Centre has been delayed, the team are working round the clock to put the necessary procedures in place to resume the much needed in-person support provided pre-lockdown. They are, however, delighted to have re-opened their shops on Tolworth Broadway.
Part of the Fircroft Trust group is Firs Court, the residential care and supported living service and support for residents has continued throughout the pandemic.
During this very emotional time, socially distanced garden visits are being arranged for residents to meet with their families to minimise the risk of infection to residents and dedicated staff have kept spirits upbeat with creative activities and events.
Firs Court staff are working hard to ensure residents feel safe and supported and appreciate them every day. As one staff member said during one of their weekend lockdown celebrations:“We are all one big happy family, all in this together and we want to make sure our wonderful residents are safe, happy and well”.