Living life with a learning disability after COVID-19

Posted 24/06/2022

Oliver, Service Quality Director for The Camden Society, talks about what COVID-19 was like for him and how it has been returning to ‘normality’.

Oliver has been a Service Quality Director for 8 years. Service Quality Directors perform a vital role to ensure that the people we support receive the highest quality of support from their Thera company.

The Service Quality Directors provide a unique view of the support provided by Thera, using their own lived experience of a learning disability to make sure people supported by Thera get the support they want.

Our Communications Team sat down with Oliver to talk about how his role was affected due to the pandemic and what it is like returning to ‘normal’.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, how did this affect you?

When the pandemic hit, my role as a Service Quality Director changed. I was not able to do things normally and therefore it was difficult to do my role. I would usually meet with the people supported by The Camden Society face to face to discuss their support, but the pandemic meant I could not do that.

The lack of face-to-face communication meant I had to use different ways to check in with the people we support, but trying to do a phone call with them was difficult. Some of the people we support found it difficult to express how they were feeling, and I missed the natural cues that you would get from a face-to-face conversation.

What was the pandemic like for the people supported by The Camden Society?

Some of the people that we support like a regular routine. The pandemic meant that they couldn’t do their normal day to day tasks and go out into their community which they struggled with. It was a very confusing time for the people we support with the restriction changes and shielding.

To keep the people’s spirits up in a time of confusion and loneliness, we decided to set up weekly challenges and activities for the people we support to enjoy at home. The people we support loved to get involved in the weekly challenges which included baking, art, and crafts and much more.

So, what has it been like now the restrictions have been lifted for the people supported by The Camden Society?

The people we support have transitioned back to their ‘normal’ routines well. It has been great to see some of the people we support attending and integrating themselves into groups within their local communities.

Our staff have been completing community mapping exercises with the people we support to find activities, hobbies, and opportunities in their local communities.

I think it is so important for the people that we support to be part of their local community and we are seeing that the local communities are viewing the people we support as equal members of the community and not just seen as someone with a learning disability.

Society is still adjusting to the viewpoint of people with a learning disability as equals, so I think it is so important that we encourage the people we support to live independently and take their own initiative with their lives and what they would like to get up to.

What have you been up to now the restrictions have been lifted?

Now we can see people face to face, I have been doing a lot more visits to the people we support which has been great. I have met some of the people that we started supporting during the pandemic, who I had not had a chance to meet.

I have also started my Being Heard events which were well attended and will be starting coffee mornings to meet with the people we support face to face. I just want to continue to visit more of the people we support, meet new people, and build even more relationships.

Find out more about The Camden Society