I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to everyone connected to MacIntyre for being so supportive over the past few weeks. Our absolute priority during the COVID19 crisis has been to protect the children and adults we support and all employees. This has meant behaving in new and innovative ways - some of which has been difficult and some of which will have a positive and lasting impact.
Firstly with regards to the lockdown and the associated social distancing. This has had a huge impact on all of our lives and I am acutely aware that distancing from families and friends and deviating from our daily routines has been particularly difficult. However we have adapted and I am so proud of how this early action was embraced by all, contributing I am sure to our low levels of infection rate. Our next challenge has been Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) both accessing this equipment and becoming comfortable with using it. The barrier that a mask introduces between people was a concern for us and seemed at odds with the culture that we value across MacIntyre. However again we have adapted and it is our culture that has enabled us to do so with humour and compassion and without a hint of “institutionalisation”. Our ability to secure adequate supplies and to adapt to the wearing of PPE has been an additional contributing factor to the aforementioned current low rates of infection.
Secondly during times of crisis not only do the values of an organisation shine through but so does the creative talent that lies within such organisations. I was aware pre Covid 19 of the depth of our value base and of the talent pools that existed in both the groups of people we support and our workforce. What has been phenomenal to witness is the extent to which both have provided barriers to the harsher consequences of the virus. The compassion, warmth and commitment shown to each other has been truly heart-warming and comforting. Children and young people are learning in new ways, people have learnt new skills, taken up new interest and have acquired knowledge and skills that enable them to connect more productively with each other, families, friends and neighbours. A connectivity and compassion has built up across communities with no place for judgement or discrimination – everyone is seen as an equal. The profile of what we do and more generally of special education and adult social care has been raised and despite the lockdown we are connecting with many new supporters be it through recruitment, fundraising or community networking.
In summary distancing ourselves from each other, from friends, families and communities and wearing PPE contravenes all that we stand for. However in true MacIntyre style this unpredictable and challenging set of circumstances has been hit head on by us all and with such sensitivity and humanity. We have learnt and grown together and are more connected with each other and with local communities than ever. Thank you!