by Claire Rogers, Managing Director at Progress
Progress provides specialist social care services for vulnerable children and young adults and are always aiming to increase resilience and reduce dependency by providing a range of services which can be blended together to offer seamless transitions through residential, foster care, semi-independent and independent living. So when the world was hit with the Covid-19 Progress were forced to adjust the way they work and respond immediately. This is our story.
We took an early decision to lock down services when the extent of the problem in Italy was seen. Whilst not a popular decision, we closed our doors to non-essential visitors, putting in place infection control measures early on, which helped us to stay ahead of the risks. As the first lockdown came into force, we prioritised the care of those that relied on us for critical support and scaled back our community-based services, after risk-assessing with our partners.
To ensure that individuals and families who could not receive direct support from us at this time were not isolated, we set up various forms of weekly communication, including phone calls, emails, and video calls. We offered our training resources to those using our services, to assist them to manage this complex situation. This was especially useful for some of the younger adults with Autism, helping them to understand the importance of infection control, PPE, and the key points of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Some community staff, unable to provide support due to restrictions, were deployed into our residential homes to increase resilience there. We assigned some as drivers, offering a ring-and-ride service to our workforce, to eliminate the use of public transport and minimise risks.
We offered a triage service to keep people safe and deal with any crisis which might arise. This was also offered to our Local Authority partners. We made some flats available as isolation units, so we could safely separate people in the event of a positive case. We used our drivers to deliver supplies to our homes, to families of staff that might need items whilst their relatives were working cluster shifts in our homes and to get essential items to our foster carers and families who rely on us for support.
Our corporate and commercial teams were quickly equipped for home working to enable the business to continue to function. Staff went beyond this and worked on getting their hands to sourcing anything from toilet rolls to pasta and a reliable supply of PPE.
Progress has been able to keep residents and staff safe; continue to provide essential services to families and challenge our creativity. Our community team started digital support sessions with young people, engaging in online training on anything from e-safety to managing anxiety, providing families with support and young people with consistency. Our staff and young people have engaged with the measures we had to put in place and coped exceptionally well through what has been an uncertain and anxious time, adapting and responding to the ever-shifting demands of the pandemic.
We always pride ourselves on providing high-quality care and support, but this has been even more important throughout the pandemic, with the additional challenges this presented. Keeping our core values at the heart of our decision making has been our strength, providing a fixed point from which to navigate. It is wonderful to have been recognised for the outstanding support we have provided during this difficult time.
Our work has been recognised by the outside world. Progress was named winner of Outstanding Support During Covid-19 category at the 2020 Best Business Awards.
The Best Business Awards are one of the UK’s highest-profile awards and winning this accolade speaks volumes about the quality of the work the staff at Progress do.
Most importantly parents, carers and the children and young people have been kept safe.