After 4 and a half months of lockdown, Beehive Industries comes alive again with the return of our first group of service users!
Our warehouse is once again filled with the buzz of conversation and friendly faces, as they pack books, sort mail and assemble kits in the warehouse. Of course, because our ‘Beehivers’ are among some of the most vulnerable and at-risk cohort, we have ensured to provide them with a COVID safe environment. By requiring daily check-ins, proof of vaccination and social distancing, we are ensuring our service users can come into our facilities and carry on with the activities and work that they missed out on while at home.
Regulars like Valentina and Florida were delighted to be back, settling into their old work roles with gusto and chatting amiably with their colleagues from across the worktables. “I have something I can concentrate on.” Valentina said. “Because at home, [I have] too many thoughts. Here, I can just do this.”
During lockdown, we were able to support our service users by delivering food aid parcels and activity craft kits. We were also able to assist the aid efforts of partner organisations such as St Barnabas Anglican Church and Newtown-Erskineville Anglican Church by providing additional food parcels for their own aid recipients.
While we are still providing food parcels for our service users and our partner organisations, our kitchen has finally reopened, serving breakfast, Morning tea and hot lunches for our Beehivers. Our dining hall has once again become the heart of our community of seniors and people with a disability, where jokes and conversation is shared over a hot cup of coffee.
There is still much to be done however, with many of our Beehivers still unable to attend due to capacity issues, we need to ensure we can open up our premises as safely as possible. After many months at home with few activities to participate in, some of our Beehivers suffered from decreased mental and cognitive coordination. Upon their return, we were heartened to see dramatic improvement in their wellbeing and ability to carry out their tasks. As NSW continues to open up, we also intend on allowing additional service users to come in until we return to normal.
Beehive Industries is all too aware of how loneliness and isolation has affected vulnerable seniors and people with a disability. Therefore, it is more important than ever that organisations like ours continue to provide person-centred services that build community cohesion and resilience.