Kind-hearted Silva Homes housing association customers are uniting to spread festive cheer by forming support bubbles to beat the coronavirus pandemic.
Small groups of people in Silva’s independent living homes are teaming up in bubbles, in line with government guidelines, to make sure that no one is lonely this Christmas, amid ongoing restrictions designed to halt the spread of Covid-19.
The initiative has been hailed a success by Silva Homes customers, who have formed bubbles to make sure their neighbours are able to enjoy company at a time when opportunities to socialise are restricted by the Government‘s Tier 3 guidelines.
“The support bubbles really do help and it’s amazing what a difference the bubbles can make because they make sure people don’t get down in the dumps,” said Paul, who lives with his wife in Sandhurst.
“Just being there to check in on someone to make sure they’re all right, have a bit of a chinwag and maybe have a cuppa or do a bit of shopping can make a really positive difference.
“When people can’t see family or friends it just puts them at ease when they know they’ve got people looking out for them in a bubble and so I think it’s a marvellous idea because it will stop people getting lonely and stagnating.”
The bubbles began taking shape when letters were sent out to customers encouraging them to set up bubbles to help them get through the second lockdown. Now they have company over the Christmas period – and beyond.
“It can be really tough being on your own at the best of times but with everything that’s going on with lockdown people can get really down, so these bubbles make sure there’s a bit of a pick-me-up,” said Janet, who lives in Bracknell.
“A little bit of kindness can go a long way at times like this and people pull together to support one another by popping round to say ‘hello’ and nipping out to get something from the shops or the pharmacy.
“There’s a really special atmosphere in the independent living schemes and it’s lovely to see neighbours who are there for each other. It’s really important for people’s well-being, just to know someone’s there for them.”
Silva Homes colleagues have been delighted that people forming bubbles all seem to have been positively impacted and have reported an improvement in their mental health.
Dasos Christou, Silva Homes Executive Director (Customer Relations) said: “It’s been great to see the way that our customers have responded so enthusiastically to our idea of setting up bubbles.
“The way our customers responded to the challenges created by Covid-19 has been brilliant, and we thought if we could encourage interaction in a safe way, it would help people find their way through the pandemic.
"Now that we have just been placed in Tier 4 and the arrangements for Christmas have changed, these support bubbles, still permitted with the new restrictions will be even more important for our customers.”
Silva Homes’ independent living customers have been praised for their role in making sure the housing association experienced extremely low cases of Covid-19, with no known cases transmitted within any of the independent living schemes. Dasos Christou attributed this to “our customers’ attention and diligence since this pandemic began” which means ”now we look forward to 2021 in the hope of some return to normality’.