Barcud (West) attended a CIH older persons conference via REMO on Monday, 30th of November. One seminar highlighted the confusion regarding communal areas in Sheltered Schemes.
Barcud (then Tai Ceredigion) decided to lock all communal lounges in our Sheltered Schemes back in March to protect our tenants from the spread of COVID-19. This decision was made for the safety of tenants and also the Scheme Coordinators who have remained (where possible) stationed at the schemes as usual to provide support and reassurance.
The seminar reported that some sheltered housing providers hadn’t locked their communal lounges at the beginning of lockdown but had closed them and advised tenants not to use them. They also removed all staff from sheltered schemes. This led to tenants using the lounges unsupervised, resulting in high Covid cases and, in some schemes, sadly, a high death rate from Covid. A situation like this has had a huge negative effect on tenant and staff morale.
Although Barcud are still receiving some negativity from a tiny minority of tenants in sheltered schemes, we genuinely believe that the stance Barcud (Tai Ceredigion) took in locking all communal lounges and the high level of support the tenants and their families have received from our scheme coordinators has enabled us to protect not only our tenants but also their families and ourselves from this awful virus.
Christmas time would usually see our lounges filled with Christmas festivities and cheer. The staff, as well as the tenants, are missing the usual celebrations. Barcud will, however, be keeping the lounges locked – for our tenants’ safety – for the foreseeable future.
At the conference, Dame Esther Rantzen spoke of loneliness in older people. She asked us as staff representatives to thank the front line workers for their dedication and hard work during the last nine months.
Thank you to all Barcud front line staff – your work has been tireless. Without you, there would be so much more loneliness and isolation resulting in worsening mental and physical health.