Welcome to the Working Together Annual Report, covering the year 1st July 2020 to 30th June 2021.
Moving out of Lockdown and a return to a ‘New Normal’ are terms we have come to use to describe the period that this report covers. However, these words don’t capture the significance of this period, of the pandemic and the challenges, changes and uncertainty we have faced during this time.
At the end of June 2020 the country was still in lockdown. The government had announced an easing of Covid restrictions and significant planning was underway to welcome members back at Rockspring before the end of July.
Our daily pastoral and support calls continued, as did our online activities, such a yoga and well being sessions, Writers Club, virtual Youth Club and Diversity sessions, Zoom discos, bingo and virtual scavenger hunts.
Robust and complex risk assessments and Covid Safe procedures and practices were developed in consultation with Shropshire Council’s Adult Services and Public Health teams – much of which remain in operation today. Our members, staff and volunteers safety remains upper most in everything we do.
We welcomed the first small numbers of members back for face to face services at Rockspring on 21 July 2020. Youth Club created a rota system where members were able to attend in person once a fortnight to keep numbers manageable and social distancing achievable. Diversity remained online.
We have all practiced our ‘Hands, Face, Space’. Hand sanitising, face masks and social distancing have all become a normal part of our services.
As we entered 2021 a further government lockdown meant we closed briefly in January before again completing risk assessments and making the decision to re-open to members. 2021 has brought Covid vaccinations, Lateral Flow and PCR testing, enabling us to all stay well and keep as safe as possible.
With our cafe being closed to the public we developed a wider range of new activities. Our partnership supporting the Ludlow Food Bank provided members with a real sense of purpose and community involvement.
Writers Club has offered a mix of online and face to face sessions – we even published our own collaborative story book. Sewing Bee also re-started and we attracted a wider group of members by introducing a broader range of crafting and making opportunities.
The cafe has been re-imagined – members have enjoyed cooking food to take home for their families and carers. We’ve explored cooking new types of food, travelling virtually around the world, enjoying new tastes, planning menus and developing new skills.
Volunteers wrestled with the jungle the community garden had become and slowly but surely the garden has come back into shape, enabling us to enjoy the crops and share any surplus with local people when possible. As custodians of the community garden, we’ve started to grow more of our own food to cook and to share whilst developing our gardening skills.
This year has certainly tested our resilience, but as an organisation we are proud to report that we have come through this time as a stronger and even more focused organisation.
We have all learned new skills and activities, which we will build on going forward – blending these together with what we’ve always done well before, to provide more supportive and fulfilling opportunities for our members and the Working Together family.