Happy New Year!

As we say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to a new year, sadly we have had to return to some virtual training, or smaller 1-1 bespoke courses for us here at the Academy, reintroducing again the 1-1 shopping experiences in our partner shop, the Independence Centre. I am disappointed, of course, but totally understand. 

I think it would be fair to say this has been the most challenging time for us all. I totally respect and support the measures that have needed to be taken as the priority must be to protect the NHS and reduce the spread of COVID 19. These tougher restrictions are hard on us all and with this in mind, never ever is there a better time to enrol on our Mental Health First Aid course, whether it be as an employer having a duty to keep your staff mentally safe or you individually working from home. These courses are still being carried out virtually or face to face. Please do take a look!

I do believe that while we may find ourselves with a little more time on our hands, especially if we are working from home and have now saved the commute in and out of work, we really must stick to the new rules that have been set out by Government. By doing this it will help to return the country to normality sooner rather than later. I do know that many have suffered pain and loss and my thoughts and hearts are with you all. 

As we all know, reflection is a great tool and whilst I write to you all I felt it was a good idea to look at some of the positives that 2020 brought for us. 

During the deepest days of Lockdown 1, when our whole world had been brought to a standstill and The Independence Centre was closed and only open for a 1-1 private shopping experience, I learned to take great solace in the rhythms of nature. For though our world had been shut down, warm weather, beautiful sunshine, more time with our families brought this beautiful and magical part of the South Hams spectacularly to life. The coastal paths, the parkland, the Salcombe estuary, the Plymouth Barbican, The Plymouth Hoe, and many more were so beautiful that they could not help but make us all believe that the natural pattern of our lives would return once more. 

Here at the Academy, we used this time to bring in new courses, such as an Advanced Communication course where we have been very lucky to find two professional actors to deliver, a new platform for learning called Focus Games which makes all our mandatory learning far more enjoyable. Staff who would be at their busiest times, coordinating the Academy, office admin, tutors delivering training hourly, the service and maintenance visits to our most vulnerable customers, all learned many new skills and upskilled themselves on many new courses. It was very rewarding to see our team exploring more and more new ways to make a better version of themselves as the days and weeks passed. It was a joy to see how creative everyone had become in all sectors. 

As we all look forward to 2021, it cannot be anything but full of optimism and hope. Our tiered world back in lockdown, and like the Academy use this to your advantage. Enrol on courses you never thought you would, become a champion for your local area, offer help with your local food banks, experience what it must be like to be homeless on the streets, take on that marathon you never thought you could do and become a more positive and better individual for you and no one else. But before too long we will awaken again just like the chrysalis opening into a butterfly. Our collective resolve together with medical science will put an end to the pandemic and we will once again be able to enjoy good times, share food and wine, hugs and closeness, the things that make life truly worthwhile. 

Until then, we must both be careful and patient, enduring the best that we can and enjoy this sunny weather as I write to you. When we can return to normality again, we must remember these times that have given us time to reflect and as I mentioned earlier upskill ourselves, we then can continue to too be a safer haven in these uncertain times. We know how to look after you all in every way, always safely and comfortably and it is our greatest pleasure to do so. 

For now, we hold hope and optimism in our sight and as ever I would like to thank you for your support and to thank my hard-working team who have done so much to keep our customers and our businesses safe and to bring good cheer, warmth and sustenance safety to you. 

Happy New Year to you all from the Training Academy and the Independence Centre here at Mount Gould Hospital and let us raise a glass of something or a smile together to a brilliant, healthy, and hopeful 2021. 

Yours, 

Andrea, Chloe, Saff, Julie and Nigel.