As the Coronavirus Pandemic stretched on and on, the staff at SHA were diligently working to continue to provide care and support for our many service users through a virtual outreach program.
SHA staff ran virtual sessions over the internet and hosted quizzes, games, chats, competitions and exercise sessions for our service users to ensure that all of our children felt supported and entertained during lockdown. These virtual sessions provided emotional support, much needed respite from the stresses of a pandemic and a connection with their friends and support network at SHA.
So naturally when the news came that SHA was permitted to run in-person sessions again during the lockdown, we were overjoyed. SHA recognised the enormous value of maintaining support for our children, especially in the most difficult circumstances that the world found itself in with this pandemic. Our services were vital to getting disadvantaged young people through it and now we could expand those services to even better support them.
And so SHA was among the very first provisions to return to service during the pandemic. As we were overjoyed we were also concerned. We at SHA, always regard the health and safety of our service users as the highest priority and the virus posed a unique threat.
Therefore, SHA undertook the most stringent policies and procedures in order to ensure the safety of our group. The venue was restricted to a maximum occupancy of 12 people (6 staff to 6 children) and mixing was discouraged. Although it was a shame that we could not yet return to regular services and have a full venue like we used to, we were grateful that the 6 children in the venue at each time were receiving the support and care that they needed. Through this system of rotating children in bubbles of 6 we were able to provide that support for the maximum possible number of children whilst keeping them all safe.
Other changes such as stringent social distancing, regular deep cleaning, the wearing of masks and the frequent use of hand sanitizers as well as staggered drop off/pick up times allowed us to keep a safe and healthy environment.
It is thanks to the monumental efforts and concern of the SHA staff team and service users that we were able to ensure a safe environment for us to return to. I am proud to say that SHA was one of the first to respond to the need for support and the return of provisions to help these disadvantaged young people.
As we continue to operate at a reduced level with strict social distancing measures I remark on the brilliant efforts of our service users to adapt to these changes and see the positives that while our sessions aren't running like they used to, we are all glad that they are still running. I know that when this is all over I will look back at these great efforts and be proud. And I think I speak for everyone at the SHA family when I say that I cannot wait for the day when all of this is behind us and we return to normal so we can all enjoy a busy snooker club, see all of our friends again and continue the great work at SHA.