Our Keeping People Connected service was set up in response to the evidence suggesting that people with learning disabilities would be significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project launched in April as part of a regional response coordinated by The North East Learning Disability Network and Inclusion North. 14 organisations from across the North East and Cumbria were involved in the delivery of the project, supporting over 1,100 people in the first 3 months.
The project supports people by phone, email, text and social media including daily group video calls allowing people to connect with friends safely from home. There is a closed Keeping Connected Facebook group people can join too. We have been sending activity packs out to people during lockdown and even provided people with a smart phone loan to get them online.
In County Durham, we have supported over 170 clients, working in partnership with Darlington Association on Disability and Include In Autism. The project has been life-saving for many of the people we have supported, highlighting issues that were already being experienced before the Covid-19 crisis including severe mental health issues, loneliness, isolation and social exclusion.
Initially, the project was funded by the Integrated Care System, and then through the Durham Clinical Commissioning Group.
As Covid-19 restrictions were gradually lifted, we started our friendship group. After nearly two years of isolation, we bought together some of the people who had been accessing our online group.
Every week our group meets in Bishop Auckland to make friends, build confidence and keep active.
So far we've done activity walks, pool & snooker, boxercise and more!
For more information contact us on 01388 449410 or email us at Hello@bridgecreative.org
If you are an adult with a learning disability or an autistic adult living in county Durham, you are welcome to join the group. We run from 4 pm for an hour every Friday and meet at the address below.
42 Market Place, Bishop Auckland, DL14 7PB, United Kingdom
The COSE, 1 Dorset Place, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14 6TH
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