The Foundation’s six residential bungalows have continued to be home for 26 young people who are pupils in school or part of our Futures’ transition service for young adults. Our incredible support staff and the NHS nursing team from Chailey Clinical Services have put the interests of the young people first to ensure their daily lives are as close to ordinary as usual. There have been a number of special events arranged on site for our young people, such as a festive ‘Chailey lights’ event for our young people where the site was lit up with hundreds of fairy jars, metre upon metre of twinkling lights and beautiful willow lanterns that the young people had made.
From boxing day Sussex, along with large parts of the Country, moved into Tier 4 and the advice we have at this point is that in Tier 4 visits to care homes will only be allowed outdoors so in the grounds on the site or through the bungalow bedroom doors. Young people will also not be able to visit home. I know this will be desperately difficult and disappointing for many of you and we will relax any restrictions as soon as we are able but we can only do so with direct advice from our local public health department. Unfortunately we have had to cancel any planned home visits and short breaks again and will reinstate them as soon as we are able to so as we are acutely aware of the impact that this will have for all our families.
We have now been issued with a supply of lateral flow tests here and are planning to begin testing visitors to the bungalows from the 4th January. The tests provide a result within 30minutes and although are not as reliable as the PCR tests that most people will have been used to they are another way of helping us to keep everyone here as safe as possible. They do not remove the need for PPE though and will not change the way we are supporting families to visit away from the bungalows as we are already doing more than the guidance suggests. I hope you will all be happy to take part in the process as it will be another way to stop asymptomatic carriers bringing the virus on site and is also a requirement from Public Health England. This is especially important with the new variant of Covid that is spreading across the South East as we know it has a higher rate of asymptomatic carriers and a higher transmission rate.
We will keep all families informed if we have to make any further changes to the way we deliver our services and will always keep the safety of both young people and staff at the forefront of any decisions we make.