On Monday 6 September 2021 the Headway North Cumbria Day Centre re-opened having been closed for almost 18 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a welcome return to our host venue – The New Waterton Hall, Carlisle. The management of the hall had kindly let us store our equipment throughout the various lockdowns and was very helpful as we developed our plans for re-opening.
In re-opening the Day Centre we completed a risk assessment and decided that a number of changes needed to be made from our normal regime to ensure that we could operate in a manner that was safe and appropriate for our volunteers, carers and members, many of whom may have underlying health conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to the effects of the virus.
We decided to reduce our normal opening hours to allow our volunteers more time before and after the session to prepare the venue for our members. Other changes to our routine prior to the COVID-19 pandemic were as follows:
– A more structured arrival and departure processes.
– A restricted range of activities.
– Lots of handwashing and wiping down of furniture and equipment.
– A table service refreshments process.
– Social distancing.
– The wearing of face coverings when appropriate.
– Avoidance of hugs, handshakes, high fives and other physical contact.
Understandably there remains some hesitancy amongst our members but at this initial session we had a total of 29 volunteers, members, carers and family members. Some undertook craft activities, some played dominoes, and many were just happy to sit and chat with friends that they had not seen in a very long time. It was great to finally meet up in person with one member who had joined during lockdown and who we had only had the opportunity to meet with during our weekly Zoom meetings and quizzes.
As we look forward we hope to relax on the restrictions that we have currently imposed with the intention of offering a wider range of activities and running the session for longer. For the time being though the Day Centre will be open from 1:30pm to 3pm, every Monday (except public holidays).
We are also starting to introduce outings and events into our programme, details of which can be found on the events page. The first of these will be held on 11 October 2021 when we will go 10 pin bowling at the Hollywood Bowl, Carlisle. Details can be found here. The Day Centre will be open to those that do not wish to participate in the bowling.
We know that many of our members will be keen to return, but are also aware that some may be hesitant particularly when cases of the COVID-19 are still high. We hope that by being cautious and by offering as safe an environment as we can that as many of our members as possible will feel able to participate.
Anyone with questions regarding the opening of the Day Centre is encouraged to e-mail the Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text the helpline on 07508 111834.