Northampton mental health charity wins Rose of Northamptonshire Award
"The smiles on our service users’ faces, and the feedback we have received from carers and families really shows what a positive impact our team efforts have had"
A Northampton mental health charity has been awarded a prestigious Rose of Northamptonshire Award in recognition of their efforts to support their service users during lockdown.
Workbridge, on Bedford Road, helps adults - who have a complex mental illness, learning disability, autism or brain injury - realise their potential in the workplace by offering them a safe space to learn skills and develop their confidence.
The Rose of Northamptonshire awards scheme was launched in October 2020 to recognise the county's 'unsung heroes' during the coronavirus pandemic. It was organised by Northamptonshire County Council, the High Sheriff's office and Lord Lieutenancy and nominations comes from members of the public.
The nomination for Workbridge said: "Workbridge has worked hard to ensure that people do not feel isolated or lonely. When lockdown started, they set up an emergency contact group and every week began phoning service users living alone to have a conversation, check on their welfare, and offer advice and clear information.
"They also wanted to ensure people had something meaningful to do at home, so sent packs full of crafts and activities, including woodworking kits and doorstop deliveries of plants from the nursery so people could get into gardening and exercise at home. In June 2020, Workbridge threw a virtual birthday party which was a lovely way to celebrate during a strange time. Well done for keeping people together.”
The vocational centre has been shut intermittently onsite for service users over the last 12 months and staff have been working to re-open facilities when safe and support their service users remotely.
Workbridge has - over the last year - been hosting regular zoom calls, activities in the post, welfare phone calls, wellbeing walks and sending out build-at-home nature kits. They also prepared pre-recorded videos for their service users to keep in touch and ensure no one felt isolated at home during lockdown.
Head of Workbridge, Helen Wright attended the award ceremony. She said: “I’m really proud of our team for collecting this award in our county. The past year has been challenging for our service users and our Workbridge team quickly came up with ways to connect with everyone so they still felt supported and engaged.
"The smiles on our service users’ faces, and the feedback we have received from carers and families really shows what a positive impact our team efforts have had. We are all extremely grateful and honoured to be accepting this wonderful award.
"It’s also been brilliant and a huge lift to welcome back service users onsite to Workbridge at the start of April. Our garden centre and café are open to the public and our new gift shop opens mid-May where our service users can gain valuable retail work experience.”
A carer for one of Workbridge's service users, Martin, said: “The Workbridge Zoom calls were a real highlight for Luke during the Lockdown period. They helped provide a structure to the day along with meal times and the daily walk.
"He would always come into the room early ready for the call and sat through happily to the end. I did stay for some of the calls - when allowed - and could see how much it meant to all the participants including Luke, to see everyone and catch up on news, learn new skills and have some fun.
"When he wanted to be left alone, we could hear the occasional quiz answers or loud shouts of "higher" or "lower". All in all a great success that helped us all to get through lockdown intact and our thanks go to all involved.”
Visit the Workbridge charity website for more information about the work they do.