• Kate Allen, CEO weekly update 1st May 2020


    CEO Update 1st May 2020

    We stand in the middle of a worldwide crisis and one that we have little control over, but we can control our approach. The positivity with which we are standing firm and facing this virus is not one based on naivety but rather is a stance that we are comfortable with; it is to be solution focussed.

    Supporting 140 vulnerable people across the Thames Valley, to date 4 autistic people we support are thought to have had the virus, with one person currently recovering. The eligibility criteria around testing has changed again in the last week with confirmation that all those who work in social care and the people they support can book for a test, regardless as to whether they are displaying symptoms. This is a hugely positive step for us as it means we will have more information enabling us to make decisions and take appropriate action to protect people.

    Five of our employees have used the testing centres in Oxfordshire this week, with three unfortunately testing positive. All are now resting, looking after themselves and keen to return to work when it is safe for them to do so. The ability to test ensures that as individuals they can take all necessary measures to keep themselves safe and protect others by not transmitting the virus further.  We have 30 employees currently not at work, at least half are people who have chosen to isolate (with no symptoms) and with a further 5 officially shielding.

    As the situation changes the Government is constantly reviewing and releasing new guidance on how different social care settings can respond. We are registered with the Care Quality Commission for the provision of Domiciliary Care and alongside that we deliver under a model known as Supported Living. This means that we are not recognised as providing Care Homes. The current recommendation by Public Health England is that all those working in domiciliary care and supported living, where a 2 metre distance cannot be maintained, should wear a facemask, regardless as to whether the person being supported is displaying symptoms or not. This is a recommendation that Kingwood fully supports, as it will reduce the risks presented to the person we support by their staff, as well as protecting the staff. For some autistic people we support this is proving very hard, as not being able to see the face of their support team, who they know and trust, is very confusing. We understand this difficulty, and it is for us to help the people we support to come to terms with the use of facemasks, as this is likely to become a very ‘normal’ thing to do. We are using our expertise to help support autistic people around the anxiety of both wearing facemasks and seeing others wear facemasks.

    The provision of PPE has become harder in recent days, however we have managed to procure a large order with a reliable supplier to ensure we have sufficient facemasks whilst the Government takes necessary action to improve resources.

    As the Chief Executive during this crisis, the responsibility to steer the charity safely through this situation sits, rightfully so, on my shoulders. However our success so far is certainly not mine alone. It is an achievement of the whole Kingwood team, who are facing coronavirus together. And it is with gratitude and thanks for this joint effort that I write this week’s update.

    Most people who work for and with Kingwood know we are different. We are positive, we are clear about our purpose, we are kind and we care. And I notice as I write this my constant use of ‘we’. And that, I believe, is part of what makes us different.


    Kate Allen, CEO

    Abi Cowley

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