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10 Aug 2022

'Staying Connected' programme helping hundreds of people around Tullamore

RehabCare came up with innovative ways for everyone to stay in touch and connected during Covid-19

RehabCare came up with innovative ways for everyone to stay in touch and connected during Covid-19

STAYING Connected, a new and thriving virtual programme launched in RehabCare Tullamore, has brought massive benefits and fostered a sense of community and inclusion for the people in the services.

The year 2020 was like no other, bringing unparalleled challenges to the team at RehabCare Tullamore.

Socialisation has always been central to the support provided, making sure that the people in the services are offered equal opportunities for personal progression and are included in their communities.

With the arrival Covid-19 restrictions, the staff were forced to make huge changes, significantly curtailing the numbers of people allowed within the centres.

Although outreach support was provided, isolation from peers and friends became a very real threat. 

The staff needed to come up with innovative ways to stay in touch and continue the important learning programmes and, with that, 'Staying Connected' was born, an online hub of activities and events, designed for people in the services across Tullamore.

Amy Scott, programme supervisor at RehabCare's Canal View service in Tullamore, says: “The programme took away a lot of the fear that the staff and the families were feeling, that people's social needs wouldn't be met.”

Amy added: “Everybody on the programme is getting to know everybody, and, in a way, we're more connected than ever before.

“Staying Connected brings people together from four local RehabCare services including Eiscir Meadows, the Tanyard, the Hub and Canal View, using a private Facebook page, where people in the services can access wide-ranging activities, from art competitions, Thursday Quizzes and the Friday Breakfast Club.

“One of the best things we did was a virtual Pet Show. Operation Transformation Tullamore is ongoing here too, and we're all giving each other great moral support on the Facebook page.”

The initiative has had a hugely positive impact on the lives of the people who use the services, despite not being able to gather as a large group together in their centre as they had in the past.

One of the service users has delivered some of the programmes, teaching peers and staff alike.

'Staying Connected' has enabled people to learn and enhance vital communication and technology skills.

Amy said the programme also creates a really good relationship with the families.

“The families are included in the programme and are delighted to see what their loved ones are doing and be part of it,” she stated.

“It's just created such a good atmosphere and a very good community connection for us all in Tullamore and we've got a really good response from people.

“A lot of celebrities have come on to send us video messages, like Nathan Carter and Mike Denver, wishing everyone well. We've even held a live music session featuring John Molloy and Alex Roe.

“It's been so beneficial for our mental health, not only for the people in the services, but for the staff too.

“We've received our Amber Flag award from Pieta House in recognition of our work to promote positive mental well-being.”

Amy concluded: “The programme has shown that just because some of the guys aren't coming into the centre, it doesn't mean their service should stop. We're really proud of what we've achieved together.”

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