A Spark of Kindness
My story begins in 2008 when I was built in Nursery Lane. I am a house and was built on the site of a home for blind babies in Worthing. I am “special” built for eleven special people who think of me as their home.
I am special because of the special things inside me. Things like built in overhead hoists and extra wide corridors and doors for the wheelchairs. Special because everything is on one floor and easily accessible for the people who live here. In fact, there are so many special things here that I could spend all day telling you about them, but then I could not tell you about what goes on in this very, very busy house.
Every day there are things “Going On”. Things like, music therapy, aroma therapy, animal petting, cooking lessons, beauty therapy and so much more. But the most over worked part of this house is the door, its opening and closing all day every day. The people who live here are always “going out”. Out for a walk along the sea front, out for a coffee, out in the minibus, out to the pub. In fact, unless they are sick everyone seems to go out once or twice a day. Some people like horse riding others swimming and some go to a day centre. Then there are holidays. Holidays in a cannels boat, holidays at Butlin’s, holidays at Woburn Abbey in fact they seem to go everywhere for their holidays.
Apart from the people who live here there are others who work here. There are thirty people who work, full time, part time and some just occasionally. Night and day the support workers are coming to make things happen and for dreams come true.
And so, it was until the middle of January 2020 when people started to get sick with a new virus. By 16 March 2021 Matt Hancock Minister for Health and Social Care told the House of Commons that all social contact must cease. And so, it was that the busy, busy door was busy no more. All the residents had to stay indoors, and one resident who was in love with a lady in another house was banned from seeing her.
There were no more visits from relatives, some support workers could not come to work as they were shielding someone in their own home. It was not easy, there was much sadness and tears, but time rolled on and eventually everyone adjusted to a new way of living. Living in a bubble with each other and not going out. Then it was Christmas, fortunately Father Christmas managed to slide down the chimney and brought some cheer, but no relatives were allowed in.
At the beginning of January 2021, three members of staff tested positive for the virus and could not work for ten days, they were sick. In addition, on 1st January a resident tested positive for the virus and all the residents had to stay in their bedrooms, more tears and anger as they did not understand why they could not see each other. By the 15 January, all eleven residents had tested positive and some were very sick.
The support workers were fairing no better, by the eleventh of January most of the staff were off sick. In a normal day they would have seven support workers on during the day and two at night, but often there were more if they were taking a resident somewhere special. It was a desperate situation not one of the residents were able to get a drink of water for themselves or to find their way to the bathroom. The company who owns the home asked for volunteers and five brave people entered the building knowing they were going to catch the virus. The volunteers included managers who did not work in the house and support workers from other houses who volunteered to be locked in. Blow up bed were put up in the lounge and frozen meals were left at the front door. There were three staff on during the day and two at night. After seven days the staff that were still in the building left and five new volunteers took their places.
By 25th January staff were drifting back having recovered from the virus, although everyone is shocked and tired. Slowly they were able to dispense with the blow-up beds and have even managed to take down the Christmas decorations. There are rumours circulating that parents might be able to visit soon.