We have sought to ensure that all of our young people are well-informed about COVID-19, while reassuring them and helping to address any concerns that they might have. We have held a series of meetings (with interpreters) to share government advice about the precautions that they should take to minimise the spread of the virus, and about what they should do if they or their housemates experience symptoms. We have also let them know about some of the specific changes that we are making at Baca in response to the current situation, and we will continue to keep them informed as the situation evolves.
We are committed to continuing to support our young people as much as we possibly can throughout this challenging period, but we are changing the way in which we do this in order to adhere to the government’s advice on social distancing. For example, we have suspended all social and sporting activities, and have instead provided a range of games and exercise equipment in our houses in order to keep the young people entertained. Each of our young people has also been provided with an art materials pack, and our art therapist will post a weekly video with a creative activity that they can try if they wish. For the time being, our support workers will continue to meet with the young people on a 1:1 basis; it may be necessary to move these meetings to a virtual format as the situation progresses.
Our education team has also been working hard to respond to the crisis. In line with the government’s position on education for vulnerable children, we will continue to provide some level of face-to-face education for our young people for as long as we possibly can; however, we will reduce the number of hours and the number of young people in each session in order to minimise footfall through the building. We are also looking at ways in which we can facilitate and support remote learning by taking advantage of technological solutions such as Google Classroom.
We are keeping the situation under constant review, and have detailed contingency plans in place that will enable us to respond appropriately should the situation escalate. No matter what happens, our priority throughout this period will be to keep our young people, staff and volunteers as safe as possible, while continuing to provide hope and support to the young people in our care.