Since the Covid-19 lockdown began on the evening of 23rd March, Kangaroos has been proactive in continuing to support its Members. We have temporarily closed our clubs, and outings and activities have been postponed. But we adapted quickly to deliver a virtual schedule of fun activities for Members and families to participate in, importantly all in the safety of their own homes.
Kangaroos quick to launch virtual support
We were unsure at first about how we would best continue to support our young people with learning disabilities. Doing nothing just wasn’t an option. We quickly launched several support functions, including:
- A Covid-19 signposting page on our website
- A closed Facebook support group
- Regular support calls to our Member’s Parents and Carers
- Zoom club meet-ups for our Members
- Family Zoom picnics
- An on-line activity programme
- Parent/Carer evening Zoom get togethers
Our stay-at-home activity programme
Our virtual activity programme has been a huge success. The schedules, planned in 6-week blocks by our brilliant operations team, include a wide variety of activities Members, siblings and families can all get involved in at home. There’s a different activity for each week. Activities so far have included baking week, gardening week, art week and story week, as well as themed weeks from Harry Potter week, to Disney week and Holiday week. We’ve made bird feeders, Memory Jars and had lots of fun doing different arts and crafts.
Perhaps our favourite week so far has been ‘Kangaroos got Talent’ – participants performed in our Zoom show, or took part in the audience, to celebrate how everyone is good at different things. It was amazing to see so many of our young people sharing their talent. Acts included singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, storytelling, sharing artwork, mind-reading, impressions and a whole lot more.
Our Members enjoy seeing their friends on Zoom each week and love having lots of different activities to look forward to. Lots of wonderful photos are being shared on the closed Facebook page (a few of which are included here).
The harsh reality of life at home without routine
Looking after a child or young person with learning disabilities is hard at the best of times. Many families are stuck at home, struggling without the usual support and structure of school, and clubs like Kangaroos.
There is no respite for families. Our young people are used to structure and routine, and many find the current situation extremely unsettling. They don’t understand why they can’t see their friends, go to school, go to Kangaroos or see extended family. It is a very difficult situation. But, for many families, Kangaroos has been a lifeline. Anna Ball, mother of Heidi who attends Kangaroos, said,
“Life wasn’t a walk in the park before lockdown, but it was manageable… Now I have no breaks at all, the routine is exhausting. It is chaotic and non-stop. Kangaroos online programme of activities is our only lifeline at the moment. I can’t thank them enough.”
Brilliant feedback from our families!
Here are a couple more of the many testimonials we have received:
“The Kangaroos presence in my inbox and on social media has been a significant bit of sanity, comfort, and community making the isolation of lock down more bearable.” Melanie Hodge
“During this tough time in our lives Kangaroos are providing the kids with a chance to see the familiar faces of both staff and their group and to share their news on Zoom calls… I love all the activities set for the kids and the Kangaroos COVID Facebook page which keeps me updated with what everyone is up to both in pictures and videos – it’s making us feel supported as a family and keeping Tom connected to his group. Thank you Kangaroos for working so hard to change the way your services are delivered.” Maria Barnes