• Kate Allen CE update

    Kate Allen Chief ExecutiveOne month from today the Christmas Day extravaganza will have passed and I hope many of you will be surrounded by people you love as you relax on Boxing Day. A far cry from the situation this time last year…. Although it is still far from ‘normal’ times and it has certainly been a trying year, there is much to be grateful for when we think of where we were.

    Many of our employees will be working Boxing Day, supporting autistic people every day of the year and in advance I thank all those whose names are already on those festive rotas.

    Although Christmas can be a confusing time for autistic people, particularly those with sensory sensitivities who can find the excessive noise and sparkle overwhelming, there are many people we support who do enjoy the jubilant atmosphere, and it was a sad decision not to host the Christmas Party at Millets Farm this year. Whilst we are supporting people to take part in Christmas activities in their local areas, we decided it would not be sensible to bring so many people we support and employees from across many different towns together under one roof. Next year will be different I’m sure…

    The recent announcement about vaccinations for those working in health and social care will affect some of the people we support and some of our staff. I am working with our teams to analyse and consider how it will impact our service delivery. The new legislation going through parliament in coming weeks will apply from April 2022 and will require all those employees who work with people we support receiving regulated support care and support to be double vaccinated against Covid 19: Regulated support is where we assist individuals closely with their personal care.  Autism at Kingwood has always recommended that employees follow Government advice and take up the vaccinations and will continue that recommendation regardless as to type of support provided; currently more than 86% of employees have received their first vaccination and 83% are double vaccinated. We will incorporate the Government’s advice whilst we develop our own policy and procedure as I intend to extend that further to include people we support in receipt of different types and amount of support. I will share details with you as that occurs.

    Finally, I’m sure some of you will have seen the awful report this week about the autistic man trapped in the social care system and hospitalised for more than 20 years whilst his parents continually advocate and fight for him to have the opportunity to live an ordinary life. A standout story on TV this week, but sadly we know not a one-off occurrence, with more than 2,000 autistic people still in hospital or assessment units – over 100 of whom are thought to have been in these settings for over 20 years.  As a charity with its origins built on supporting autistic people out of hospital and one that has continued in that vein doing all we can to prevent autistic people from hospital admissions, it was so frustrating to hear the local authority response that services cannot be found. This may be the position that presents itself on the surface, but underneath that are providers like Kingwood who can/could provide the services needed if social care was prioritised and funded as it should be.

    Finally, I am pleased to let you know that there are no new cases of Covid-19, amongst people we support or our support staff.

    Have a good weekend.

    Kate

    Philippa Stannard

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