CEO Update 18th December 2020
I am pleased to share with you that we have had no new cases of Covid-19 amongst people we support this week and good news also that the person we support in Oxfordshire who had the virus last week is recovering well. Unfortunately a member of his staff team has since tested positive and is resting at home. We wish him well.
We have taken receipt of the self-swab kits for all Autism at Kingwood employees who come into contact with people we support and we are working on our distribution plan. Each participating employee will receive a month’s supply of 4 kits and using the Royal Mail Priority boxes can send their completed test kit each week between Thursday and Sunday to the laboratory. I encourage all employees to take part in this programme as not only does it ensure your safety when working with autistic people we support, but it also provides reassurance for your families.
As I write this, there is much discussion around visits over Christmas and whether the Government should retract approval for 3 families to meet. Throughout this Coronavirus outbreak Autism at Kingwood has maintained a common-sense approach to every hurdle and obstacle we have faced. When guidance was not available, we took sensible precautions until it was. As new challenges arose, we pulled together ideas from across the organisation, listening to families, autism support workers and commissioners and agreed the way forward. Our approach to Christmas will be the same. Although the law may allow people to come together more over Christmas, our recommendation is that social contact continue to be kept to a minimum. We will not be relaxing our approach to social distancing, PPE or work based gatherings.
December is normally the month of our lively Christmas party, when we also hold our ‘Families Meeting’. We know how important our meetings are for families of people we support, and so we have rescheduled our Families Meeting to 12 January at 4pm, via Zoom. Myself, Estelle, our Chief Operation Officer and & Tapiwa, our Regional Director for Oxfordshire will share with you our plans for the year ahead and be available to answer any questions you may have. If you would like to attend, please email Chanelle.Aristide@kingwood.org.uk.
Finally I would like to thank my colleagues at Kingwood for their support during what has been a difficult time personally. Sadly my mother contracted the coronavirus in October whilst in hospital for a different reason and just days before discharge. Despite a valiant battle, she died on 30th November. The Autism at Kingwood family always pull together during difficult circumstances, whatever they may be, and my sister and I are especially grateful for the support and understanding we have received. The impact of Covid-19 has hit so many families across the world during 2020 and it is encouraging that as the year ends, a vaccine programme is being rolled out that will save many lives. Until it reaches us, common sense must prevail and we must continue to protect each other.