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Because our residents are a vulnerable group of people, it has been necessary to act wisely and thoughtfully this year.

Yet many good things have come from these difficult circumstances.

We are grateful that nobody has tested positive yet for Covid19 at the centre. This is thanks to the support and cooperation of staff, families and parents who have followed preventative protocols since March.

All our residents received the necessary training and guidance by means of the life skills program, and learnt how to wear masks, maintain social distancing and do regular hand washing and sanitizing. They learnt how to greet (with a fist-bump and stretched arm) and furthermore there has been strict controls with regards to movement of people to and from Horizon House.

It has been interesting to observe a general decline in colds and other infections at the centre.

The lockdown awakened fear with the residents. They could follow the news on the media but could not understand the implications thereof (neither could we!). We were pleasantly surprised at how well everyone adapted. The therapeutic team put a lot of effort into ensuring each mask worked – that it was comfortable and suited each person’s tastes – even if it meant sourcing a Springbok mask!

After the shift to level-four, the centre was divided into smaller groups which functioned in isolation for a few weeks. Although this was extremely difficult, the therapists and staff could interact with the residents on a new level, build stronger ties, build deeper knowledge of each person which can be beneficial in future.

The work areas also split into smaller groups, which meant fewer hands for the same amount of work. But the resilience and grit and teamwork shone through and ensured that the tasks at hand could be completed.

The handwork, for instance, could use their skills to make masks and other PPE and with the help of volunteers managed to produce over 700 masks for the use of residents, day workers and staff. The fact that they could produce these items, greatly saved us from such expenditure.

The bakery had the opportunity to make new plans, develop new recipes and launch the products on the website.

We could not carry on with our “normal” fundraising activities and needed to create new and innovative ideas to raise funds. The Celebrate Life Box, a virtual race, and the launch of the online shop all developed thanks to the lockdown.

Even though 2020 was a challenging year, we are proud that our team could launch innovative ideas, practical plans and drive forward with grit and teamwork – so that we could carry on with our core function of caring holistically for our residents and offering a client-centered service.

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