• Kate Allen, CEO Update 19th  June 2020


    Like autism, having a learning disability is a lifelong condition and whilst Autism at Kingwood provides support and guidance to many autistic people who don’t have a learning disability, we also support and help many autistic people who do, and it can affect their ability to learn new skills, hold information and communicate. Learning Disability week is intended to raise awareness of issues related to learning disabilities and as the week draws to a close sadly much like Autism Awareness week in April the campaign has been largely overshadowed by the ongoing Covid-19 situation. But beyond this week, there are some longer term campaigns and projects that we can get behind and we will share news of those in coming weeks.

    When I sent a helpful reminder to staff on the importance of handwashing on 24th January this year I had no idea of the impact the coronavirus outbreak was going to have on our lives and I find it quite remarkable to comprehend that we are now approaching the halfway mark for 2020. I am not going to add to the extensive range of sayings and quotes about the precious nature of time or the significance of good health; suffice to say that so many of us have taken stock of what is important, really important to us.

    The human need to maintain social connection has been a particular challenge to so many during lockdown, more so for autistic people and/or those with a learning disability whose networks and circles are often much smaller. For some, isolation and loneliness is increasing and we want to find ways to help. With that in mind we are exploring how to use technology to create social groups and how we can help people keep in touch without placing themselves at risk. This is a unified effort so if you have ideas please share them with us. Either with a Kingwood employee or email directly to info@kingwood.org.uk.

    Incredibly and with much relief, we have experienced another week with no new cases of Covid-19 amongst people we support or staff. This is truly great news and an ongoing testimony to good infection control and hygiene management of all of our workforce. I cannot thank them enough for their diligence.

    I would like to share an enormous ‘thank you’ to the families and friends of those people who have helped, in whatever way, to keep the country running and safe. To the husbands, wives, partners and children who didn’t understand why the person they loved had to go to work whilst so many stayed at home, who worried when they left the safety of their home or who didn’t see them because of the key work that they do and the associated risks. We have some employees who haven’t seen their children because of the work they are doing and I want to say thank you to those families and friends for being so understanding and tell you how proud and grateful I, and the families of people we support are, of what they have done and continue to do.

    Next week’s communication will be from Estelle Christmas, Autism at Kingwood’s Chief Operating Officer. Estelle will provide an update on our current position along with sharing news of a project we are commencing in Wiltshire with some of the country’s most vulnerable autistic individuals.

    Abi Cowley

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