As customers were not able to attend the centre during this time, the care team undertook regular welfare video calls with customers to keep them engaged and positive during what was a difficult time for everyone.
For Tyrells customer Edna Green it was a very productive time. Thanks to an idea by ECL Customer Care Assistant (CCA), Denise Gibbs, Edna wrote and illustrated her very own book of poems.
A former teaching assistant, Enda has always had a skill for writing and painting, helping many children with their reading, writing and art skills during her career. Denise thought that working on the book would be a good lockdown project to rekindle Enda’s flair for the creative.
The book, called Simply Poems for Small People by Edina (Edina is Edna’s nickname, affectionately given to her by her Father when she was a child) features poems and illustrations by Edna on a range of subjects such as: family relationships, memories from her life, nature, wildlife, ghosts, and ghouls.
Edna, who turned 94 at the end of March, and her CCA Denise would discuss topics that inspired her, and come up with ideas for poems in their twice weekly virtual meetings. They’d work together to shortlist what to include in the book and Edna would get to work writing the poems and painting the illustrations in the time between calls.
Denise said: “We’re all so proud of Edna and her achievement. It’s so true that you’re never too old to follow your dreams and your passions. It’s really empowering for customers to do something that they really enjoy, and we strive to make sure that we tailor the activities we offer around what each customer enjoys doing.”
Edna’s family fed back that working on the project had a positive impact on her mood and emotional state during the pandemic. Denise later worked with Edna’s family to get the book published with a local publisher, 25 copies have been printed so far and Edna has had many requests for a copy.
Edna said: “I’m really proud of my book of poems, it was an enjoyable project to work on. I’ve always wanted to have something I’ve written published, so this is a real achievement! I enjoy coming to the day centre, I like the company, and I’ve made a number of friends through attending.”
Edna’s second book is also in progress. During the coronavirus lockdowns Denise also worked on a life story project with all of her customers at the centre. Edna decided to make her memoirs her next book which Denise and Edna are currently getting ready for publication.