2020 Impact Statement
Some dates are destined for the history books, like 1066 and September 11th. This year will be long remembered. Covid-19 affected everyone in the country, every school, every business, every family. There were exceptional acts by exceptional people which should be remembered and celebrated but for the most part we will be glad when things return to normal.
I would like to thank the parents and carers who stood by us and continued to pay for a service although we were not able to provide it; Hampshire County Council and Southampton City Council for their support; and the Government and HMRC for the Job Retention Scheme (furloughing) which was a lifeline for small organisations like QE2 Activity Centre.
An Impact Statement often concentrates on the number of people helped; this year, because of an enforced closure, our numbers are well down but the impact we have had on people may be greater than ever.
qe2 activity centre
QE2 Activity Centre, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), provides activity opportunities for people with additional needs in the interests of social welfare with the object of improving conditions of life.
The QE2 Activity Centre CIO was established in April 2018 but the Centre was founded (as Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Activities Centre) in 1978. Over the course of forty years the Centre has established itself as one of the leading providers of activity opportunities for people with additional needs
Full details are provided in our Report and Financial Statement for the Year End 31 March 2020
Incoming resources 391,212
Grants & donations* 25,300
Investment income 491
Cost of providing charitable activities 360,318
Governance costs 9,828
This year would have been a lot more difficult if it wasn’t for the positive contributions of our staff team. During the first Lockdown period most staff were furloughed. Although they could not do any direct work they took the opportunity to do online training and attend Zoom calls. When staff returned from July onwards they threw themselves in to our new normal, getting involved in planning for the future
There have been some staff changes over the year with Rob Stokes joining us in January and Stuart Blakeledge leaving after Lockdown. Instructor Oliver Carr moved to supporting Day Services, where he has done a great job but he is moving on at the end of his fixed term contract to join the Army. We wish Stuart and Ollie all the best with their future careers. Because of these staff movements, and also because of the way we have restructured our day Service bubbles, we have taken on new staff: Iveta, Shay and Michelle.
The current staff team is Phil Oates (manager), Kerry Lees (senior instructor), Marie Poore (day service manager), Jackie Swann, Mira El Khaddamova, Iveta Burien, Shay Havenhold and Michelle Horne (day service co-workers), Jen Pearce (secretary) and Simon Rex (cleaner).
During 2019 QE2 Activity Centre provided over 4000 day service places for adults with learning disabilities from Southampton and Hampshire.
During the first three months of 2020 the Centre recorded an increase in day service usage of 20% compared with the same period the previous year. If things had carried on that way we were looking at a record breaking year. However the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a forced shut down for the next four months (April, May, June and July) with a gradual return during August and September.
Although we were unable to offer a face to face service during this period we did stay in touch with our users through Zoom calls, phone calls, emails and postcards. Our service users were able to take part in both virtual and physical scavenger trails. Our sunflower competition was a popular diversion for some!
We became a distanced meeting place for some people, a service that I feel we could have offered throughout the pandemic, if face to face and building based activities had not been suspended.
At the end of July we were asked to provide a service for some people who were struggling. We started with two, then four and through August and September this increased gradually until we were back to the same numbers we were at in March. By the end of October the majority of those who were attending in March were back, plus we had welcomed a further nine people to our service.
We had to change the way we did things, to make our day service Covid secure. We changed the layout of rooms, decorated, disposed of clutter, adapted the cabins, put up new signage. Staff were trained in Covid awareness and infection control. New ways of working were developed, with an even greater focus on staying outdoors. We were able to develop three bubbles, each with their own building and outdoor space.
Like households during lockdown developing a sudden interest in gardening or DIY we have devised a programme based around maintaining and improving our grounds. There’s always plenty to do in the Allotment for the Green team and our new Blue Bubble has the run of the area in front of the cabins.
Parents and carers comments
When we thought we might have to close for the second Lockdown we asked parents and carers what they thought. Here are some of their comments:
QE2 has proved vital for [our daughter]’s mental and physical wellbeing (and indirectly ours)
[Our daughter] has developed noticeable moods which have swung quite wildly throughout the course of every day as a direct result of the last lockdown, so I dread to think where she will be at the start of December this time around if she is deprived of the caring, nurturing and stimulating environment you and your wonderful staff provide for all our young people day after day.
[My son] found the first lockdown difficult, as he lost his daily routine. We are beginning to see him settling into a routine. Even if there is a limited service we would feel it would be beneficial for [my son] to still attend.
It would have a negative impact on [our son]’s mental health if the Centre was to close again. His anxiety levels are already rising and he really wants to be able to continue coming 3 times a week.
For us as a family it’s also the only respite we get at the moment and would be sorely missed should you have to close.
We feel you’ve all done a great job ensuring people stay in their bubbles and follow the guidelines.
From a personal perspective QE2 has been an absolute ‘lifeline’ to [my daughter] in providing structure, socialisation and a sense of purpose.
I can see her blossoming once again in an environment where she can be herself by further developing her independence and work based skills, whilst spending time away from home, out in the fresh air.
It gives me a much-needed break for two days so that I can re-charge my batteries, which helps me to deal with the constant pressure and responsibility of caring for [my daughter] and giving her a meaningful, active life.
QE2 has a big advantage due to having plenty of outside space and also being able to keep the groups completely separate when having to be inside.
I asked [my daughter] and her reply was
“yes I really want to go to QE2 because I like having fun and we do really nice fun activities where I meet all my friends. We distance, wash our hands and cover our faces and do what the staff ask us to, to stay safe.
So it’s a big yes from [my daughter].
I wouldn’t have survived this year without a bit of me time and I was so happy when you offered us outreach.
The day service provides a person-centred programme with activities designed to promote work and living skills. Our day service aims to be stimulating, challenging and fun; a place to meet others and make new friends; a place to learn new skills that will help every day; a place to have the opportunity to try new things; a place to spend time enjoying the countryside; an environment that is safe and a place to take part in activities that contribute to lifelong learning and good health.
During 2019 QE2 Activity Centre provided around eight thousand adventure activity experiences for visitors with additional needs and their carers.
During January to March 2020 there was a small rise (6%) in bookings from the same period the previous year. Again, the forced closure at the end of March meant there were no bookings for the next four months.
We concentrated our efforts on rebuilding the day service but set up a skeletal activity service. We were repeatedly told what a “lifesaver” it was to find somewhere that could safely offer activities again, for people who had had nothing for several months. We put Covid secure measures in place, adjusted timings so that there was separation between sessions and limited numbers.
Overall the Lockdowns have had a devastating effect on our ability to provide activity sessions. The first quarter of 2020 (Jan-Feb-March) had been up on last year, but during the second quarter we were closed completely. Even following reopening in August activity provision did not climb beyond a third of what it had been in previous years. One reason for this is the difficulty many of our usual visitors have had with transport and the reluctance of some care home owners to allow their residents to travel.
We are confident that we can provide activities in a Covid secure environment and that groups can return. During the year visitors took part in a variety of activities including: motorboat trips, canoeing and kayaking on the Hamble River, orienteering and bushcraft in the Country Park, archery, rifle shooting and indoor climbing. We have concentrated on doing outdoor activities – only coming inside as a last resort. We have taken QE2 on the road, providing some activities in school grounds.
2020 has cast its shadow over our ability to engage with our local community. From March onwards we were either locked down or confined to barracks! We have been able to speak to Parish Ecology Group in Fareham and Hamble Valley Rotary Club by Zoom.
Planned community days with local businesses fell through but we look forward to welcoming volunteer groups back in 2021.
Our local MP Paul Holmes visited, commenting “Lovely to meet staff who provide amazing services to children and young people with learning difficulties.
We have had donations from Wessex Whiskey Club, Bishops Waltham Lodge and Biopharma towards our new boat project.
New boat project
QE2 Activity Centre intends to purchase a new build wheelchair accessible pontoon boat to give children and adults with disabilities access to the River Hamble, for the purposes of education and social welfare. Complementing the James Male this will give even more people the opportunity to get afloat at QE2 Activity Centre.
If you can help raise funds please get in touch!
- thanks to all the staff who work so hard to make every day special
- thanks to all the volunteers and committee members who give their time, effort and energy
- thanks to Hampshire County Council, Southampton City Council and Eastleigh Borough Council for their continued help and support
- thanks to all the parents, carers and care workers who support our visitors
- most of all, thanks to everyone who has visited QE2 Activity Centre this year to take part in activities and day services
QE2 Activity Centre
River Hamble Country Park
Registered charity no 1165893
Telephone 023 8040 4844
Email [email protected]