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'You've got a friend in me' Wiltshire Council supports Mencap's Learning Disability Week friendship campaign

Long walks, chats over the phone, visits, newsletters and exchanging craft ideas are just some of the many ways the Wiltshire Council in-house Learning Disability Team has been keeping in contact with adults they care for during COVID-19.

Published 15 June 2020

The team has developed an outreach service both for those adults they usually care for and others in the community.
The outreach services can involve home visits to give parents or carers a break, taking people out for long walks to maintain their physical wellbeing, sharing crafts and activities but always staying in weekly contact.
The team also writes to customers and delivers activity packs and are currently exploring setting up virtual sessions.
The outreach service has placed an emphasis on maintaining relationships and links with local community. The work of the service ties in with the national theme for Learning Disability Week which celebrates the importance of friendships during lockdown.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: The lifestyle changes we've all had to take on board have been difficult but this is particularly hard for adults with learning disabilities who have had to adapt to new routines and the normal support services have had to change.
Friendship and taking time to talk, listen or take exercise is so important. Our teams have been providing this important service in new ways. We are here to support our families and they have shared their experiences and thanks with us. Our teams have delivered a different kind of service and I know their hard work has made a difference during these unusual times.
The team is regularly hearing how the new outreach service is having a positive impact.
Christine Cross, mum to Matthew said: I just wanted to express our gratitude at your wonderful staff.  They have rang us up every week for a lovely chat and to see how we are managing.  Marian put an activity pack together for us which Matthew enjoyed doing.  It is very much appreciated.
One mum said: I just wanted to express my gratitude to the team for ringing us every week for a chat and to see how we are all managing.
The In-house Learning Disability service includes team leaders, support workers, shared lives staff team, caretaking team and administration team. The In-house LD service works closely with the Wiltshire Council Community Team for People with Learning Disabilities, Wiltshire Health and Care and Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust learning disability services to ensure that people with learning disabilities and their families are supported. There is a focus on what people can achieve and enabling them to live full, independent lives.

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