13th May 2020: As Teamwork Trust continues to deliver its remote Covid-19 service to help Northamptonshire adults with special needs, the charity’s Engagement Officers explains how proud she is to have played her part.

“What Teamwork Trust has done as a charity in such a short space of time and under such exceptional circumstances is just phenomenal, and I am being told what a difference we have been making to individuals and their families and carers,” said Sarah Gibbs who has worked in health and social care for over 28 years.

Sarah’s role as an Engagement Officer spans all three centres and her focus has been working with some of the charity’s most vulnerable members during this time.

“My day-to-day tasks include welfare calls, thinking up fun activities, puzzles and competitions, doorstep deliveries of packs and essential supplies and welfare visits to check on our members in person when it’s absolutely necessary,” said Sarah.

“I feel more passionate than ever about ensuring that our Teamwork members have the highest level of support, and that I can make them smile through all of this. They deserve the best and if it means me going the extra mile to make sure they get it - especially during Covid-19 - then that’s what I will do.”

Like many staff and volunteers at Teamwork Trust, Sarah has had to adapt her own approach to find different ways of staying in touch – she even helped one service-user purchase and learn how to use a pay as you go phone so that he could be contacted, and makes sure to speak to others seven days a week.

“We have all dealt with this situation differently, so it’s not surprising that the behaviours of autistic adults and adults with learning disabilities and mental health needs have been really varied too. I just find what works for each individual and run with that,” said Sarah.

“I get asked all the time when the centres will reopen and of course all my conversations with members are around Covid-19, but I find constant reassurance and repetition helps them understand.

“The majority of service-users have actually dealt with it all really well thanks to the constant contact from Teamwork Trust. Parents and carers have appreciated it too – it gives them a routine and focus.”

Sarah is now working with members of the National Lottery funded 'Reaching Communities' project and Teamwork Trust managers to help devise a plan for a phased return to the centres when the government has announced it is safe to do so.

“It won’t be the same when we go back but I am confident there will be a lot of positive changes in place. I am proud to work for such a forward-thinking organisation.”