Update from Susan Hoath, Chief Executive at Vista
After an unprecedented year of challenges and uncertainty, it is lovely to be talking about taking (cautious) steps to start opening things back up to our members and our community.
Vista could not, did not, manage to keep everything going ‘as normal’ in 2020 and we are only just beginning to work out the way we’ll work in future. I regret this, but I am also phenomenally proud of the many things we did achieve; the services that we continued and the adaptations that we made to keep as much of our support available as possible through each phase of lockdown.
Our older people’s and complex needs homes are all now working in our new ‘normal’. The majority of our staff have been vaccinated, as have our residents, and we are testing everyone regularly so we can keep people safe. With the lifting of some restrictions, we are delighted to be welcoming family members back into our homes to visit and are truly grateful for the support that they too have given us to help protect their loved ones.
Our specialist teams working in the hospital eye clinics and community to identify and work alongside people who need support to regain their independence or learn new skills are still in place, with a mixture of telephone and face to face support available. The Low Vision clinic is running, and we are providing mobility and orientation training and support to help people get back out into their communities.
The Vista team have worked so hard over the last year, adapting where needed and doing everything they could to keep essential services going, even when many others went into lock down. I’m also incredibly proud of the work our volunteers have done, especially those who were themselves shielding or otherwise affected by Covid, and what started as a small group making welfare calls to more vulnerable members has gone from strength to strength. Under the banner of ‘Let’s Talk’ hundreds of conversations are now helping to keep people in touch and feel less isolated.
Finally, thank you to everyone who has donated money, goods or services and who has gone out to help us raise funds to keep the charity going. From virtual balloon races to walking teams building up routes that would have taken us to Aberdeen and back, every step counts, and every contribution makes a difference.
Whatever role you play in Vista, thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to support us and our work.