Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022

2021 has been another challenging year for everyone and I had so hoped that 2022 would bring brighter times..at the time of writing, I think we may need to hold out a little longer before knowing how at least the first part of the year may be!  However, despite its ups and downs some things have stayed constant here at Acorn and that is the care and commitment that our staffing teams have continued to give.  We saw our first confirmed cases of Covid at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 in line with the, then newly identified, Delta variant and we saw how quickly it spread.  Thankfully we had nobody become seriously unwell however it created fear and anxiety for us all.  At no point did our staff take a step back from their roles and were shining stars in delivering quality care whilst working in extremely difficult circumstances.  Sadly the current situation continues to put immense pressure on our services and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone working at Acorn for everything they do and everything they have achieved.  They have been incredible and we are very grateful.

Life has, quite rightly, needed to move forward and as a service we have become more confident at balancing the risk of this virus alongside the broader wellbeing of our residents and tenants.  We have welcomed visitors back when the guidance has allowed and we thank everyone for their patience whilst we have navigated the everchanging advice on how to do this safely.  I cannot imagine what it must be like to be restricted from seeing your loved ones for such a prolonged period of time and we have had this at the forefront of our minds when supporting family and friend visits.  We hope to continue to look at this in a pragmatic and realistic way and we are so grateful for your ongoing understanding.

Our coffee shop is now open to the public having been closed for 18 months.  We have seen a steady stream of much missed faces as well as some new ones and as we move into the new year we hope to open up more fully as we feel is safe.  I will update you as changes occur and lets hope that we can double the amount of Xmas lunches next year and get back to some carol singing accompaniment!

Our loyal volunteers have continued to support us through the opening, closing (and reopening!) of the Manningtree charity shop.  Being closed for such a long period of time has given us the opportunity to redesign and streamline our donations, sorting and storing processes and we are so pleased that the local community continue to shop and donate  to our store.  A huge thank you to all of our volunteers, whether you are sorting at home, within the site, working in the shop, Ebay  or a combination of everything, we are truly grateful for your ongoing support.  We will be updating you within the New Year when we aim to reopen our onsite charity shop.

Our Creative Craft Centre has had a fabulous year since it has reopened offering modern and progressive courses such as TV presenting, animal care, comic making, dance sessions and so much more.  Along with these they have managed to get out and about taking the Acorn VIPs sailing and horse-riding.  I am constantly in awe of the talent our residents, tenants and staff have and we look forward to sharing more with you over the next year as we relaunch the service.

The Acorn VIPs safety and well-being has been  at the forefront of everything we have achieved this past year.
Covid grants and donations have allowed us to convert bathrooms into wet rooms, update the 1970s water system and  the conversion of the furniture shed into a Covid testing and lifeskills learning and social centre begin to take place.  We have recognised the huge impact that this pandemic has had on our staffing teams and have increased our wellbeing and mental health systems and look forward the creation of a outside pod for staff to seek ad hoc or more formal wellbeing advice and support.  This has been possible through a very generous donation and we hope this service will further support the work/life balance of our teams.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Acorn Village this year through your fundraising activities.
Onsite we had the Witchfinder Trail Run which raised a fantastic amount and was our only fundraiser of the year as it was outside!  The aim of these events is that to anyone attending they look effortless….I can promise you they are not!  There is a huge amount of work and effort needed to make these a success and we thank everyone involved for taking on the work.  Our fundraising team had some changes to it this year with Jess leaving for her maternity leave and Kate changing her role to volunteer with us  whilst pursuing an exciting new career.  We wish her the very best in her new role and thank Kate for everything she did and continues to do for Acorn Village.  

Off site there was a hive of activity from you wonderful supporters with extreme ironman’s, litter picking, pub quizzes, safari trails, birthday fundraisers and much more.   Our wonderful supporter Keith lit up his house again for Xmas and we will look forward to the Acorn shield final on the 27th December.  The much needed funds from these activities all directly support adults with learning disabilities and mean we can continue to live up to our motto of ‘Life is for Living’
We are more grateful to you for supporting us than you will ever know!

2022 is on its way and with your help and support we’re getting plans together to make it a year to remember, watch this space!!!

Have a happy and restful Christmas and here’s to a much brighter 2022.

Michelle

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