At the start of this pandemic we hoped to maintain our online presence, but sadly we could not maintain that aspect of Trowbridge Service Users Group. The extra pressure on our mental health became too much to maintain our daily online presence.
Although out daily news service had stopped, we did continue to maintain the group online. By using our group members page, which is a private invitation only page and cannot be view unless you are a member.
My priority was to ensure that no one felt alone, and that there was always someway to reach out, if you needed to chat. Some group members deliver food and prescriptions and sat outside for a small chat to help those that where shielding.
We started each day with a daily greeting which always reminded members they where not alone and it would people a space to say they where have a difficult time and we had them. Everyone would offer their support and remind they it would pass there is no right or wrong way to deal with this situation and that they where doing the best they could.
We had a post showing what celebration or festival would take place around the world a simple reminder theirs always a reason to celebrate and another post about what happened this day in history along with memes, jokes, and YouTube videos etc.
We also arrange group chats, online bingo, and lectures, we started a Selfie Monday where we would take themed selfies and turn those pictures in to the page header for the week. We had your best Duck face, beauty or beast, put a hat on it and this week “it needs a mask” the nice thing about the selfies is that you can just pop on to the page to see your mates faces.
We have also been trying to raise some funds to get a larger safer space for the group to meet and new members can join and gain the support they need while waiting for the NHS and charitable service to pick up the back log. If you would like to help us, please use the donate button or visit our go fund me page http://gf.me/u/x4pymx.
Once the Lockdown was reduced (way to early in my option) some of the trustees meet in a garden following all the rules to discuss how we can best help our current members. We decided to split the group into four teams holding up to 5 for small safe meets in gardens to help everyone slowly return to socialising in larger groups.
We have 3 teams in Trowbridge and 1 in Westbury and each team will run their own group activities and organise around good weather. Some groups are planning 1 to 1 sessions for those not ready for groups but need connection and a path back to what we personally call normality.
But we are coming back, and we will keep everyone up to date, but we are also protecting our own mental health and we are focusing on support each other.