The swift adaptation of our Life Skills groups in response to COVID-19 is a wonderful example of compassion in action during a difficult time. Life Skills provides vital social connection and a range of creative opportunities which are essential for the psychological well-being of our clients. Remaining constantly flexible, we’ve been able to keep people connected, using Facebook, Zoom, and by phone.
Matt Prescott, who facilitates the groups and is a highly skilled artist and animator, keeps in close contact with all those who are part of the Life Skills community, checking in and finding new ways to keep people motivated.
Client involvement is increased with online polls to decide the artistic content, and last week the group took part in Genesis’s own fundraising venture. Matt has been working with clients to produce cartoons and animations, and so the idea was birthed to create a 26-image cartoon strip as part of the 2.6 Challenge. Other clients used their knitting skills to join in the fundraiser.
The musical classes Life Skills offers have been tricky to replicate with many clients not having access to instruments at home, so instead our Music Therapy Facilitator Valerie Winning Hart set up an online ‘Desert Island Discs’.
For clients seeking spiritual support, we’ve been enabling prayer sessions over Zoom with Genesis Chaplain Steve Hughes.
It’s clear that the path ahead will continue to require flexibility. Many of our clients are dealing with both physical and mental health problems, so that even when lockdown is lifted for some, the need to keep the vulnerable safe from infection may mean ongoing social distancing. We anticipate that as the impact of COVID-19 begins to emerge, we will face a greatly increased need for the work we do.
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