23rd September 2020: Meet our support workers, Linda and Bernie, who have been helping run our continued remote and digital sessions for the service-users still shielding or unable return to the centres.

Linda has been a volunteer for Teamwork for a number of years and was brought in as a member of Teamwork staff in April to help manage the ‘at home’ services. “Some of our adults with learning disabilities are still unable to return because of personal or medical reasons – they might live with elderly relatives, be shielding themselves or some just prefer to be at home,” said Linda. “These are the people Bernie and I have been working with over the COVID period, making sure they’re happy and supported. It all started in lockdown and we’re still going now.”

Linda gives everyone a call at least once a week to check on their mental health and wellbeing.

“It’s turned into a highlight for so many who love the singing sessions, funny quizzes and general chats. My job is to make sure they’re happy, and I have found they absolutely love the informal calls. We sometimes even sing together rather than talk, and it’s fantastic how much everyone’s confidence has grown as we’ve got to know each other.”

Linda and Bernie also help run the weekly ‘Happy Thursdays’ virtual sessions where service-users at home and in the centres come together online to take part in fun activities, music-making and singing.

Bernie added: “Happy Thursdays are a lot of fun for everyone. We’ve been playing virtual ‘play your cards right’ and ‘say what you see’ which service-users find absolutely hilarious. They all get to see each other and interact – even our non-verbal members will wave to their friends on screen and smile. It is so important that we provide options so that everyone is involved. It is because of our approach that we’ve continued to support adults on our ‘Living & Learning’ programme.”

Linda has lived experience having overcome her own mental health issues over the years. Now a qualified mental health first aider, she’s also been involved in the development of Teamwork’s new online anxiety and mindfulness courses which will begin in October.

“We’re about to launch new virtual sessions for members of the public so that we can continue our wellbeing support in the community. We used to run practical classes in the centres pre-COVID, so now we’ve created online versions for the general public. I will help facilitate these classes with others at Teamwork, using my personal experience to help others.”