Adapting to Covid-19

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Author Project Manager, Rekindle.

Rekindle’s Small Steps Project enjoys a challenge, and this was put to the test with the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown commencing in March. At the start of the lockdown period we recognised some of our current clients were living alone or estranged from family members. We were able to prepare clients for the possible lockdown and were kept busy ensuring they had enough food and medication to reduce any panic. We continued to remain open ensuring we could do so safely following government guidelines to keep everyone safe.

We have worked tirelessly to support every person who has needed it throughout the lockdown, with no two days being the same. Every person who has contacted Small Steps, be it by telephone or visiting our office, has received the support they required. We have turned no one away.

Despite our criteria being 16 – 25 years old we have allowed some flexibility, with the eldest person to receive our support being 84 years old and shielding. Our support has included a listening ear, support through a crisis, shopping and collecting and delivering medication. We even helped to fix a dog pen to prevent her dog getting free.

It has been a challenging time for everyone with a number of clients experiencing feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Without a safe office environment to visit their mental health may have deteriorated further. We recognised not everyone feels comfortable speaking on the phone, or doing a video call, so it has enabled anyone struggling to cope with a mental health concern or a practical problem, no matter what age, to call in and receive the support they need.

We are looking forward to returning to some normality, for now though we will keep smiling and look forward to each new day whatever it may bring.

Quotes from Small Steps’ clients

“During Covid-19 and lockdown Small Steps helped prevent me from being homeless and doing something unpredictable. I was able to avoid being a victim of domestic violence and was able to give my wife the space she needed.

Before I received support from Small Steps I would not have managed in such a calm manner. I would have acted irresponsibly, ensuring I get arrested, as this was all I knew to ensure a place to stay and prevent me sleeping on the streets.

I have gained a different way to cope, remembering to follow and use different coping techniques, and if that does not help I am able to contact Diane or Kemal or a peer support who I can talk to without being judged, and I always feel understood and listened to.”

Anon – (24)“Small Steps have worked tirelessly throughout this pandemic no matter how big or small the situation. I myself am incredibly thankful that they remained open during these difficult times for everyone.

Diane and Kemal came to see me out of hours on a Sunday after experiencing a domestic violence incident. Without having them to speak to, and keep me positive and my hopes up, finding me a place to stay along with a food parcel, I genuinely don’t know what sort of situation or head space I would be in at present.

I am forever grateful that this charity exists, I don’t have any family support since being estranged from them so in some way I consider Small Steps to be my second family.”