Connecting Differently

A young lady communicating via an app

May 15 marks the International Day of Families and now, more than ever, has there been a need for us to connect differently on a global scale. At Sense, connecting differently is something we have been doing since we were founded in 1955 – Sense is here to help people communicate and experience the world.

The global pandemic has caused the entire world to rethink how they communicate and us to rethink how we support. Our services have been working tirelessly to ensure that everyone they support is disrupted as minimally as possible while providing the best level of care. We know how important it is for our families that we continue to provide support in any way we can so, all across the country, Sense staff have been coming up with new and inventive ways to connect and communicate.

Have a read about some of the amazing work happening around Sense.

The Sense Get Out There (GOT) group in Cornwall

The staff has taken to running video session to keep everyone connected. Each session is a little different but gives everyone involved a chance to interact and have fun. So far, they have had group drumming sessions, yoga, quizzes and even a pet ‘show and tell’. Having a chance to connect with friends helps the group forget about what’s going on in the world around them. For Ellie, she said that she felt ‘a lot less worried when I am talking to my friends on Zoom’.

A screen showing a Zoom call of children showing their pets.

The Sense Buddying service in London

The service is embracing technology with equal enthusiasm. Each person on the service is usually paired with a volunteer buddy who they regularly talk to and meet up with. While the lock down has been in place, the regular meet ups have had to be put on hold so, the team and volunteers have been coming up with incredibly creative ways to bridge that gap. One young person and buddy have been making picture stories about the highlights of their weeks. Having the space to be creative and have a buddy to talk to has been incredibly important for both during the lockdown.

A felt tip drawing of a lady with long hair explaining what she has been doing.

Stockport group of Sense residents

The residents have not been short of creative activities. From social distance concerts to quizzes, the group have been filling their days in lots of exciting ways. While this has been great, not being able to share these experiences with their families has been more than tough. It haTs been equally difficult for the families not to see their loved ones on a regular basis. Thankfully, the staff have been making the most of the technology at their disposal to keep everyone in contact. Not only that, they have been creating and sending regular newsletters showing the families some of the amazing highlights of the week. The hardest part is choosing which highlights to share!

The 2.6 challenge

The 2.6 Challenge has been a national fundraising initiative to support charities during this time. People had to complete a challenge that involved the number 26 as the 26 miles of the London Marathon were cancelled. Staff members, parents and people we support from all over the organisation took part to raise money and awareness. One young man taught the 26 letters of the alphabet in BSL while others chipped a golf ball 26 times or wrote a poem in 26 minutes. The creativity that was shown when it came to picking the challenges was immense and everyone who took part did incredibly well!

Our Children and Families Team

We can’t talk about the International Day of Families without mentioning the tireless work of our Children and Families Team. From providing video coffee mornings to personally delivering resources to families (while maintaining social distancing), the team have not stopped thinking of new ways to provide support. Each child and family is unique and so the support they receive must be equally tailored.

This is just handful of some of the wonderful activities that are taking place. For example, take a read of how Sense is supporting families in Northern Ireland. In this time of self-isolation and physical distancing, it is important to remember and hear about some of the wonderful stories that are being told. A change in societal norms have spurred Sense staff and the people we support to connect differently and in increasingly creative ways. As the world around us evolves, so will we in ensuring that no one is left out of life, no matter what.

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