As restrictions have lifted, the Savera UK Support Team has been able to restart its much-loved in-person drop-in sessions. While some activities continue online, since June, we have had opportunities to bring our clients back together again.
Our weekly ‘Women’s Hour’ sessions feature a broad range of activities, from coffee mornings to day trips, activities, and programmes planned and facilitated by our small but brilliant support team. Taking advantage of the sunny weather, one of our first sessions back was a group trip on the Mersey Ferry, which you can read all about here.
The ferry trip was a welcome return to real-world activities, with many clients highlighting the issue of isolation and the impact on their mental health. Although online sessions have been useful, like all of us there’s a real desire to get out in the fresh air and be with others!
In early June, we hosted a nail bar and face painting drop-in session, so there was a treat for both our clients and their children. The multi-skilled and multi-talented support team provided nail treatments for our grown-up clients, while children had their faces painted with superhero logos and bumblebees.
A recent clothing bazaar drop-in was equally as popular, with clients and their children coming in to select some new outfits and toys that had been kindly donated by our supporters. Many clients left with five or six bags of summer and children’s clothes, with one particular young visitor very excited to extend their collection of two outfits at home, to around 15, thanks to the fantastic selection available. As well as practical wear, there were also some ‘dressing up’ costumes that one of our young visitors was particularly keen on.
While practical support, such as providing clothing, is important at the drop-in sessions, the support team also sees our clients benefiting from the sessions by building their own support and social circles.
One of our clients and their little boy came to the clothes bazaar. Previously, the boy had been very shy and withdrawn but according to his mum, he was excited to return and see the “face painting ladies”.
Support Team member Nefeli said: “Previously, the little boy did not speak much and had clearly been impacted by lockdown and not being able to go to school and socialise with other children. But at the clothing bazaar, he began to speak to other children who were also there. With the other children, he started playing happily together and picking some toys to take home.”
At this particular drop-in, some clients realised they were living at the same address, which made them very happy. Since then, following the drop-in, they have formed their own friendship.
Support Team member Merfat said: “When one of the clients couldn’t attend the clothing bazaar, their friend selected some items for them, so they didn’t miss out. It was a lovely act of kindness and an indicator of the relationship that has been cultivated simply through coming to our drop-in sessions.
“Providing drop-in sessions allows our clients to have a safe space to come to and be themselves, to build their own circle of support with those of who may have similar experiences and to tackle isolation.”
Many of our drop-in ideas are based on the ideas and suggestions of our clients, so recently we invited them to help us plan future activities. We had a lovely afternoon tea session and discussed ideas for our drop-in sessions for the coming months, as well as having a relaxed and fun time together.
Many were keen for more day trips, like the ferry ride and picnic in the park, others included a trip to the beach, knitting, running a book club and an empowerment programme.
Merfat said: “Getting out in the fresh air and in new places is something our clients are always excited about, especially when they can bring their children, as it’s not ordinarily something that they would be able to do on their own.
“Encouraging clients to participate and involve them in planning the drop-in activities and programme is an important part of the work Savera UK does. It ensures participation and inclusion and clients know they are being heard. More importantly, it’s part of their personal growth and development, which contributes to their sense of independence.”
Nefeli added: “We have loved getting back to our in-person sessions as much as our clients and we are really excited for our August calendar and beyond.”
If you have a skill you would like to share with our clients – from beauty treatments to crafting activities – please do let the team know by emailing [email protected]