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Dan joins team supporting adults with learning disabilities at home

Dozens of adults with learning disabilities have continued to be supported throughout the coronavirus crisis by Swansea Council.

Dan_Grover

When lockdown began day centres that provided service users with social interaction, activities and projects had to temporarily close and will not reopen until it is safe to do so.

But staff have been working in a different way to keep in touch with users and support them to live independently in their own homes.

This lifeline has been vital as many are on the shielding list meaning they have been told to stay at home.

Before the coronavirus Dan Grover (pictured right) was a Day Service Officer (DSO) at the Abergelli Service in Fforestfach.

He said: "We are still supporting adults with learning disabilities but in a totally different role, in fact it's almost unrecognisable in terms of my previous role and function.

"This is more about working in the community supporting people to manage in their own homes and many need this vital service to maintain their independence.

"During the current situation, the services have been a lifeline for many individuals as they are unable to leave the house because of 'shielding' for basics such as shopping, medication and prescriptions.

"Moreover, the Flexible Support Service (FSS) team maintains support through this period of enforced social isolation by being that friendly face and listening ear be it by phone or by giving service users the opportunity of staff contact by maintaining the social distance of two metres from the doorstep.

"Social distance is not the end of social support."

FSS is currently supporting more than 40 service users in their homes and a further 20 plus over the phone with wellbeing calls.

Dan added: "My previous job was more about working in groups in a therapeutic sense and this job is all about working with individuals to achieve successful outcomes.

"Living safely in the community requires skills and responsibilities that many service users struggle with, so my current job is to support them through those struggles and make independent living a success."

Dan says his new role has given him more responsibility and a chance to develop new skills.

He added: "Like all of us, everyone wants to get back to normal to a time when shopping with service users, not for them is the reality, and when it will be OK to take service users in our cars.

"We all miss that, but we are making the best of the situation and are meeting our caring responsibilities.

"Before COVID - 19, my perception of Flexible Support Service was more about the vibrant social club scene and like my previous job, providing meaningful group activities.

"However the work undertaken by the FSS means so much more as I now know what an essential service they provide to so many people, be it from providing the basics like shopping for service users to keep food on the table or intervening and managing complex issues such as drug & alcohol abuse.

"This new role has been both an eye opener and a privilege for me to be part of."

Cllr Clive Lloyd, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Community Health Services, said: "Coronavirus has impacted on the way we deliver all services in Swansea but we are continuing to support and care for those who need us.

"Our staff have shown on a daily basis that they are here for Swansea and I'd like to thank Dan and all his colleagues for the way they have adapted to this crisis."

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