We're back at Paul's Place
DISABILITY charity Paul’s Place has been able to welcome people back to its day facility for the first time since lockdown.
After creating a new COVID-19 secure space, the charity was able to safely reopen its base at Coalpit Heath for adults with physical disabilities in September, with a limited capacity.
Starting with small numbers of people, the charity is reopening gradually.
Chief executive Daniel Cheesman said: “In the weeks leading up to the re-opening of the day facility, as a disability-led organisation, it was vital to get the input of the disabled adults we support in regards to our plans for re-opening."
The charity discussed reopening plans with its service users by phone and video calls so they could raise concerns and questions.
Daniel said: "The meetings were a huge success and everyone had the opportunity to provide feedback about our plans for reopening. It’s important that everyone is part of the decision-making process.
"We want people to feel safe and relaxed when they come to Paul’s Place.
"A recent survey highlighted how much they missed the day facility but were anxious about their safety.
"We want them to know this is their space to realise their potential and they are the best people to tell us if what we’re doing is working."
Support workers reported that it did not take long for people to relax during the first week of opening.
The charity has had to adapt throughout the coronavirus crisis and is continuing with its successful Paul’s Place at Home and Paul’s Place in the Community projects providing safe social interactions in the community, visits, phone calls and online activities on Zoom.
The charity will review its policies on a monthly basis and once the situation improves hopes to increase numbers and resume activities such as sports, Boccia and short trips.
The charity is running an online appeal to fund its services after the pandemic had a big impact on fundraising activities.
To make a donation visit the website at www.paulsplace.org.uk.
Henry's gift warms hearts
A WINTERBOURNE boy helped raise money – and spirits – for charity Paul's Place.
Henry Bateman found out about the work done by the Coalpit Heath charity to help adults with disabilities after his mum Katie attended a Women's Institute presentation in Emersons Green.
When lockdown started Henry, aged 7, started growing plants to keep busy and decided to sell them from outside his home to raise money for charity.
When his mum asked him what kind of charity he would like to support and Henry chose one which helped adults, over children or animals, she told him how Paul’s Place enhanced life for physically disabled adults, providing social activities that connect people, reduce isolation, improve health and well-being and give people the opportunity to develop new skills, enjoy new experiences and live life to the full.
Henry's sales of pepper and cucumber plants, in return for donations, raised £12.50 and he sent the money to Paul's Place with a hand-written note (below).
The charity since sent Henry a personalised letter back and spread news of his gesture to supporters via social media, leaving Henry "bouncing off the walls," according to his mum.
Paul's Place fundraising and PR manager, Clair Armstrong, said Henry had "warmed the hearts of everyone at Paul’s Place" and told him: "We cannot thank you enough."