This is an update regarding our response to the latest guidance from the government on coronavirus and social distancing.

As you can appreciate the information and advice is changing on an almost daily basis and, above all things, we must consider the health and well-being of all the people we support, the staff and families.

The government is strongly advising the use of social distancing to reduce the spread of infection and we have been reviewing how we can reduce social contact throughout our services. This will mean that, for some people, the service we can offer will change dramatically.

Day Services

This service supports people from a wide geographical area and the activities undertaken at day services make it very difficult to ensure the 2 metre social distancing rules. Therefore, the people who live in our residential services or supported living services will not be attending day services from tomorrow – Wednesday, 25th March 2020.

We are asking those people who attend day services on a daily basis to stay at home wherever possible. We are going to ask the day service manager to contact families directly, as some families may have a “Key Worker” within their household.

We will also be in touch with the transport services to ascertain their plans

Residential and Supported Living Services

We want to limit the amount of contact the people who live in our services have with the wider community. We ask families to really consider if they need to visit a loved one. If they do need to visit, we ask they meet their loved one outside – i.e. go for a walk (while observing social distancing).

We are, where possible, helping the people we support to understand that hugging, shaking hands, etc are now not to happen – so we would ask families to please respect this.

If we have a person who gets a dry persistent cough and/or a temperature we will be isolating the whole house; so we would ask families not to visit if a house is under isolation – which would be for a period of 14 days.

If family members would like to take their loved one back to the family home, they are able to do so, but we ask that they remain at the family home if they or anyone in their family show symptoms of the virus.

Respite Services

We understand that respite services are a valuable resources to families, however we will have to cancel our respite services from Wednesday, 25th March, in order to follow the government’s social distancing rules. Our respite team will be contacting the families concerned.

Funding

Some families have raised questions around whether or not the funding for their placement will still be there should they withdraw or isolate their loved one within the family home. We have had confirmation from local authorities that funding will still be in place once we are through this pandemic.

Communication

The situation and advice from the government is changing fast and we are endeavouring to respond quickly and communicate our plans. We recommend you check our website and follow us on social media (Facebook and Twitter) so that you are aware of all our latest announcements.

We have asked most of our back office staff to work from home and only have a few people to answer phones and respond to queries. If your enquiry is not urgent then please email: enquiries@autismtogether.co.uk. We will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

Many thanks for your understanding of this unprecedented situation and I hope you and your families remain well.

Yours sincerely

Jane Carolan, Deputy CEO & Director of Operations