When forced into "Lockdown" in March 2020 the BUILD Charity knew that for many of its beneficiaries this was going to be a very difficult time. Already experiencing social isolation as a result of disability, our beneficiaries were about to enter a world where understanding why all the "normals" were now turned on their head, they couldn't meet friends or family, they couldn't go out and wondered why our services had to be suspended.

A mix of fear, apprehension and a lack of understanding of what was really going on was compounded with isolation - but they would not be left alone.

Within days of the lockdown being announced we were up and running with on line programmes, links to everything from sports and on-line ten pin bowling to virtual tours of Parliament, tourist attractions and theme parks. We hosted a weekly "Happy Hour" on our Facebook page, a weekly Fun Quiz on Zoom, and a weekly "BUILD Birthday Club" hosted by our Chief Executive and a Giraffe called Gerald who brought some fun and recognition for people who got birthday mentions when they thought that no-one would have remembered.

We carried on working, we refused to furlough staff that we needed to be operating, working harder, and differently, but still working to make a difference.

We recognised that not everyone could access us digitally, so we launched "Call and Connect" with weekly telephone catch-ups for people who wanted them, and postal packs for people who could not access our web based services, and then gradually, and complying with all of the Covid-safe guidance we slowly started to introduce some small group, outdoor activities, during July 2020 including weekly walkabouts, Energise Outdoors and Grow and Go - all designed to get people moving, active and out of doors.

Here is what a parent carer said about our services:

To think of life for the beneficiaries without Build is something I would never wish to face and even during the current pandemic it is clear to see just how much it means to them all.  Despite lockdown Build have continued to interact regularly via social media and telephone calls and constantly the staff are asked "when can we do the things we love again” It is a part of their lives that they are able to choose and it is so clear to see how much it is missed.  So thankfully this lockdown won’t be forever but without Build many beneficiaries would be locked out of all the things they love to enjoy on a permanent basis. - Claire Peart – Parent Carer