Exercise, Edmodo and ANZAC bikkies now on the menu
At Northcott, the global pandemic has challenged us to look for new ways of working with our customers, including those who access our Everyday Life Skills programs across New South Wales. While these centre-based programs are essential for customers and remain open, more than 250 customers are currently attending centre-based day programs online. This allows them to stay connected and engaged with their peers while continuing to work towards their goals while at home.
In Wagga Wagga, this is a new and exciting format for customers like Kristian and Christell, who usually attend the Everyday Life Skills program. The customers are learning how to use online platforms such as Edmodo and Google Hangouts for the first time, with great results.
Kristian says it is lovely to still be able to see and talk to other customers even though he is not in the centre. Christell, meanwhile, says she is enjoying using Edmodo “because it is like Facebook but for customers”.
“I like being able to connect and post things for everyone to see,” she adds. “It gives me fun things to do at home. I enjoy being able to connect with staff and other customers like Kristian in the comfort of my home.”
During the sessions, customers are being supported to explore new activities around the home. One of these is the creation of a 15-minute exercise program that customers will share with each other.
Customers have also been encouraged to help out more with home chores, such as cooking a meal or cleaning. Some are experimenting in the kitchen and sharing recipes. Not short of creativity, they have even shared a recipe for a Maccas burger!
Cooking is a favourite activity in many of our centres. In Penrith, our Everyday Life Skills customers are finding creative ways of keeping this activity going. Using Google Hangouts, Senior Support Worker Kaitlyn Cole facilitates cooking sessions. Customers at home watch the process being completed by staff and their peers located in the centre. Those at home write down the recipes, then prepare them at home and share their results.
Our customer Tiana was at the centre last week when the group baked ANZAC biscuits. “Having my friends online was really good as they could see what we were doing. The recipe was easy to read and understand. I was unsure about my cooking skills but after making ANZAC biscuits I feel like an expert!” she says.
Casey, another customer, says it is good to have people participating both in the centre and online, and communication with everyone works well: “The recipe was easy to follow and the biscuits turned out really nice and tasted pretty good.”
Northcott Wagga Wagga Support Worker Penny Bartley adds that the experience of moving sessions online has been beneficial and rewarding for staff, who are also learning new skills along the way.
“Introducing online sessions is a new step for us in terms of learning and adjusting to customers’ needs,” she says. “We have found that with online sessions, some customers engage and learn better with 1:1 support. We have been able to incorporate this so those customers are still working on their individual goals in a more personalised way. These customers have been working hard on their tasks for the week and showing their progress during our catch-ups.
“Practising good mental health and acknowledging that it can be a hard time for everyone has made customers feel more at ease knowing Northcott is here to support them on their journey.
“The online sessions have also allowed support workers and customers to get to know each other in a different way, with customers sharing what their houses look like and even the pets they have. It is exciting to be part of a team that has been able to adapt to a new situation and introduce a fantastic online program so quickly.”
Want to know more about how Northcott is continuing its services during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? Visit our COVID-19 page.
Check out how Illawarra customers are staying connected while staying apart.