It’s been 3 weeks since we had to make the decision to close our face to face drop-in sessions due to the Corona Virus Crisis. This was a very hard decision because we know how valuable the groups are to everyone who attends them.
We quickly had to think of ways that we could continue to support our service users with visual impairments, without putting our staff and volunteers at risk.
Within a week we had a plan! We would be supporting our service users through one to one phone calls and we also worked out an accessible way to do group chats using Zoom.
Since then we have had 2 weeks of working remotely from home, we have done 6 online chats (3 per week) and it’s going well!
We’ve had great attendance to the group chats, everyone who has wanted to join them has had technical support over the phone to download the app and get it working. Over the first 3 sessions we had a collective attendance of 33 people with Visual Impairments.
Here’s what some of our service users have said about our new (temporary) way of working;
Sammi says; ‘Absolutely love the zoom chats, they are so helpful, we talk about all sorts from tech to day to day things. Under the circumstance it’s really helpful just hearing everyone’s voices and feeling like we’re all there for each other, it kinda feels normal.’
Sue says; ‘Thanks to everybody at KVIN for these virtual drop-in sessions you have been a lifeline to all of us who are self isolating look forward to chatting to you all again next week.’
Other service users have said;
‘You’re all ace! It makes me so happy to see how supportive , kind and caring you all are.’
‘The contact we have on this group is lovely, also the Zoom meetings – it’s just nice to hear everyone. Many thanks KVIN.’
‘Thanks to everyone at KVIN, you are really appreciated.’
‘KVIN is about friendship and supporting each other especially at this critical situation.’
‘If I had to sum up how KVIN is helping at the moment I would say “bringing people together when they have to be apart“. I know it sounds a bit corny but I think it sums it up. I think KVIN is doing a great job during this time.’
Since closing our face-to-face service we have continued to support service users by phone, email and messaging, in 2 weeks staff and volunteers have provided support on 115 occasions. Although it’s not the same, we are pleased to have been able to continue to provide our valuable emotional, practical and tech support.
We have also offered to get shopping for any service users who have been struggling to get shopping themselves since lockdown.
This service has been needed 4 times so far and we anticipate it will continue to be needed as many people are struggling to get online deliveries.
‘Thank you to everyone for all the kind offers to bring shopping. At the moment, we are managing, but , I’m just thinking ahead. So I might need to ask for help next week if I still can’t get a slot. And I feel much less anxious, knowing that I can ask in the future.’
‘We are very lucky to have such lovely people at KVIN who offer help to us and support I appreciate everybody who is offering to help us during this difficult period.’
It’s all part of what we do at KVIN, we are glad we are helping to alleviate isolation, loneliness and anxiety at this difficult time.