Online pilot scheme from Victoria Lodge is a huge success during coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 10:38 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:38 27 May 2020

Victoria Lodge in Wisbech has been organising online activities for its regular activities during the coronavirus lockdown. Lyra, pictured, has been potting plants. Image: Supplied / Victoria Lodge

Victoria Lodge in Wisbech has been organising online activities for its regular activities during the coronavirus lockdown. Lyra, pictured, has been potting plants. Image: Supplied / Victoria Lodge

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Adults with learning disabilities are keeping busy during the coronavirus lockdown thanks to an online activity scheme designed for their needs.

Online activities have been organised for Victoria Lodge's regular visitors during the coronavirus lockdown. Mark, pictured, has been busy. Image: Supplied / Victoria LodgeOnline activities have been organised for Victoria Lodge's regular visitors during the coronavirus lockdown. Mark, pictured, has been busy. Image: Supplied / Victoria Lodge

Regular visitors to Victoria Lodge in Wisbech have been keeping in touch, and active, over social media with cookery classes, gardening and creative photography.

The afternoon danceathon with centre manager Hayley Bradshaw has also become a massive hit.

Staff at the centre launched the pilot project to offer virtual drop-ins and check-ups for Victoria Lodge visitors. It has since grown with more activities, and everyone contributing ideas and even running their own sessions.

Hayley said: “It seems like a long time since my colleague Nik Embelton and I were talking into the late hours, discussing how we could reach out to people during the lockdown.

Like a Rhinestone Cowboy! Victoria Lodge helper Dave, and his cockatoo, have been entertaining regular visitors with karaoke sessions. Like a Rhinestone Cowboy. Image: YouTubeLike a Rhinestone Cowboy! Victoria Lodge helper Dave, and his cockatoo, have been entertaining regular visitors with karaoke sessions. Like a Rhinestone Cowboy. Image: YouTube

“Nik had run a session on social media and had set-up our Facebook page as a way of sharing the great work and stories from the people we support.”

She added: “Never did we think we would have to flip that on its head and use it as a tool to maintain contact and run fun sessions with those who use our service.”

Victoria Lodge is a day service run by Cambridgeshire County Council for adults with learning disabilities and older people. It offered a range of classes before the lockdown measures were introduced.

The interactive activity and engagement scheme has allowed its work to continue online, and visitors are even sharing photos and videos of themselves participating.

Online activities have been organised for Victoria Lodge's regular visitors during the coronavirus lockdown. Mark, pictured, has had fun taking part. Image: Supplied / Victoria LodgeOnline activities have been organised for Victoria Lodge's regular visitors during the coronavirus lockdown. Mark, pictured, has had fun taking part. Image: Supplied / Victoria Lodge

Dave, one of the Victoria Lodge helpers, even had a video of himself singing Rhinestone Cowboy with his pet cockatoo posted on YouTube to put a smile on everyone’s faces.

Hayley said: “The people who visit our centre mean so much to us and it is so humbling to see how involved they are.

“Many are telling us they are accessing it every day to see what is going on, and they are getting their families involved in the activities too.

“They have brilliant ideas and I can’t thank them and our staff enough for everything they are doing.”

She added: “We say that anything goes, which is unfortunate because I couldn’t then back out of giving a dance class!

“I’m certainly no professional and have never done anything like it, but a promise is a promise.

“I’m just pleased we can keep peoples spirits up, and that really does work both ways.”

To see what the centre has been up to, including Hayley’s Dance Lessons, visit the Victoria Lodge Facebook Page.


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