Impact Living Summer Newsletter 2020

Special Dedication to Weston Park Hospital, Teenage Cancer Unit and St Luke’s Hospice Sheffield.

Claudiu Tiroi 1993 – 2020

It was with heavy hearts we said our goodbyes to Claudiu Tiroi who passed away on 2nd August 2020, after enduring his 4-year battle with Cancer.

Claudiu Iulian Tiroi was born in Hateg, Romania in 1993.

At that time Romania was coming out from Ceausescu’s communist control, so money, jobs and resources were limited and this adversely affected Cluadiu’s family.

Claudiu’s parents had to work long hours to try and make ends meet and to afford somewhere to stay, so there was no real stability for them or for Claudiu. They lived with his Maternal Grandmother for a long time and then when his parents decided to move to another village, his Grandmother suggested that Claudiu stay with her so that he could attend school and that meant he only saw his parents on a weekend.

In October 2014, Claudio was offered a career in the UK, aged 21 and excited about the prospect of a new opportunity. He was also a great fan of the British culture, as well British actors Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones.

Claudiu had always wanted to make a better life for himself, although he had not envisioned being away from his family and this was an extremely difficult decision for him to make.

When Claudiu arrived in the UK, he really enjoyed his new way of life and his new job.

However, one day, Claudiu experienced his first unexpected seizure; he had described this as the feeling of forgetting how to speak. Claudiu knew that he was unwell but was unable to explain what was wrong.

Worried about his health and struggling to come to terms with seizures, Claudiu returned to his family in Romania for some respite and to seek medical advice. During his time back in Romania, Claudiu was hospitalised after experiencing another seizure and his return flight postponed. After some medical attention and following the guidance provided to him, Claudiu felt well enough to return to the UK and back to work.

After a short period of returning to work, Claudiu had another seizure, but this time had blacked out and had a major fall, resulting in a serious leg injury. Claudiu’s employer ensured he sought medical attention again however after undergoing further tests, Claudiu was discharged as no problem could be identified.

Over the next few months, Claudiu had many appointments with his GP and was later referred to another GP in Mexborough, which prompted an MRI referral.

After receiving an MRI Claudiu received the news that there was a rare form of brain tumour known as a Glioma and he would be referred to a specialist consultant to discuss his options and treatment plan.

Claudiu was ready to attend surgery for the removal of the tumour in December 2015 but unfortunately this was cancelled and he had to wait for an alternate date for surgery.

By this time, Claudiu was really missing his family and wished to spend Christmas with them in Romania but flights were expensive and so he faced the prospect of being alone.

Thankfully, Claudiu’s consultant granted him his wish with a generous act of kindness by offering to pay for his flight home enabling him to spend the festive period at home with his family. Claudiu was reluctant to accept this offer as he thought this was too grand a gesture, so instead they made a compromise, Claudiu would pay the consultant back over the next few weeks.

During the festive period, while in Romania, Claudiu took a turn for the worse and was hospitalised yet again. His employment back in the UK were extremely supportive and understanding, offering to hold his position until he was able to return.

Claudiu returned to England in the New Year and continued to work up until his rearranged operation in February 2016. Most of the tumour was removed, however Claudiu received further news that his tumour was a Grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma and he would need 6 weeks of radiotherapy to try to destroy the tumour cells.

Further complications to Claudiu’s health meant that the radiotherapy would be postponed and eventually after finally receiving radiotherapy and assessments, Claudiu was advised that his options were now very limited, that his Cancer was terminal and treatment going forward would be for palliative care.

From March 2016, Claudiu’s employment contract ended due to his health and being unable to attend work. He spent most of his treatment weeks on the Teenage Cancer Trust Unit at Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield and went home at weekends. His Clic-Sargent Social Worker Louise Dolphin made a referral to Impact Living for supported accommodation, as she assessed that he needed our support as well as a more stable living environment.

Claudiu moved into Impact Living in November 2016 where he told staff that having his own tenancy had really helped him.  He loved having his own space and felt that Impact was a good place to be at peace and it really helped him to know that there was someone there to support him day-to-day.  His confidence in managing his own tenancy grew and he was always hopeful that someday he would be able to return to work.

Claudiu’s motto that he lived by was “don’t regret the past as you cannot change it, nor can you think too much about the future but focus on the ‘here and now,’ focus on your family, if this is possible as it is what matters. People are lucky if they have good families and strong family values”

During his time at Impact, Claudiu touched the hearts of the staff working alongside him. He had a great sense of humour and was always ready with some suggestions for films and box sets to watch!

In his final weeks in the Summer of 2020, Claudiu’s condition deteriorated and he was referred to St Luke’s Hospice who provided palliative care to him in his home.

Claudiu had no family connections in the UK and it was his final wish to return to his family for his end of life care.

With the Coronavirus outbreak and restrictions on flying, Claudiu’s hope and determination never wavered and with the tireless efforts of his parents, cousin, clinical nurse specialist Shona Turin, Helen Smith and her team from St Luke’s Hospice as well as the support team at Impact Living, Claudiu’s final wishes were granted.

On 3rd July, Claudiu flew home and spent his final days surrounded by loved ones.

On 6th August, Claudiu’s cousin Daiana wrote:

“We had Claudiu’s funeral yesterday and we felt his presence throughout the whole process. We had a sunny day during the funeral and at the end as we finished and arrived home, we had a huge storm. In our tradition, this means that he felt sorry for his early departure alongside with the angels.”

From all staff and friends at Wilfred Drive, Claudiu, you will be sadly missed.

Coping with Covid

It has been a provoking time for most services during the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone at Impact Living has made a huge effort in response to the fight against the spread of Covid19, alongside the local communities we work in.

While many businesses have been in lockdown, Impact has tried to adapt to continue functioning as safely and smoothly as possible.

The ‘standstill’ period enabled us to reflect and reset; reviewing new ways of working while ensuring our support service delivery has been un-interrupted.

We have ensured staff have been provided with the appropriate PPE; face masks, gloves, sanitiser and visors, as well as implemented social distancing measures in all of our offices, while promoting home working for some staff members; using virtual platforms to communicate.

Thank You to all staff, residents and their visitors who have persevered during these challenging times!

Public Health England, PPE guide for community health and social care settings, What PPE to wear and when – an illustrative guide 2020  (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-protective-equipment-ppe-illustrated-guide-for-community-and-social-care-settings)

That all being said, it has been a very busy time and there are so many positive stories to share with you!

Respite Breaks

After working extremely hard during the pandemic, Impact wanted to show its appreciation to Key Workers Tom and Darren in one of the ways we know best; by providing a much-needed respite break to Lanzarote!

Tom is an Emergency Nurse Practitioner and Darren is a Teacher in a Secondary School. They have two sons and were extremely grateful to Impact for the opportunity to spend some quality time together abroad:

Darren and Tom’s Story…

“We’re a slightly unconventional family in that we’re an all-male troupe; two dads and two adopted boys. We adopted our boys when they were one and two and now, we’re dealing with testosterone-driven hormonal teens! I teach in a secondary school (the one attended by our boys, so that I can keep an eye on them) and Tom is an Emergency Nurse Practitioner, working in Derby.

We first heard about Impact through a friend, who told us about all of the excellent work that Impact does and, over the years, we’ve been fortunate enough to spend our summer holidays in the villas that the charity owns in Playa Blanca; over the last 10 years, we have created some wonderful family memories – it feels like our home from home.

However, in the midst of the corona virus pandemic and subsequent national lockdown, we had resigned ourselves, this year, to a summer staycation. Fast forward a few weeks and the stranglehold of the virus appeared to be loosening and talk of foreign travel was back on the agenda. The prospect of enjoying long sunny days and balmy evenings in more temperate climes was once again a reality.

We had already pencilled-in our annual 2 weeks break to Playa Blanca, Lanzarote with Nigel and the Impact Living team and a quick phone-call to Sharon confirmed that the Residential Iris villa, Casa Nissar was available! The stars appeared to be aligning in our favour and it was time to dust off the suitcases. Next on the list was to book the flights, which were, surprisingly, much cheaper than in previous years. Again, things couldn’t have run more smoothly and before you knew it, we were all set to go. Thoughts of spending a wet week in Whitby paled into distant memory and were replaced by eager anticipation of sun, sea and sangria.

However, amongst our excitement, we had overlooked one vital task – our children’s passports were due for renewal. Not to be defeated, we quickly processed the applications and sent them on their way, feeling cautiously optimistic that we’d receive them in time. One of them arrived within a fortnight but the second passport remained worryingly elusive. It was the weekend before we were due to travel and there was still no sign of the passport. Begrudgingly, we gave up hope on our summer holiday. Then, unbelievably, we received news that the passport would be delivered by courier and that we would, indeed, be able to make our flight.

Action stations ensued as we frantically shopped and packed and made our way to the airport. Everything had come good in the end, until…. a BBC newsflash announced that the flight corridor between the UK and Spain had been closed and anyone arriving from Spain would need to quarantine for 14 days. It felt like somebody, somewhere was intent on keeping us in the UK.

Ultimately, we made the decision to still go on holiday, mainly because we didn’t want to let the boys down and we’re very happy that we did. Despite there clearly being fewer tourists about, the locals, as always, were incredibly welcoming and glad to welcome visitors into their bars, restaurants and shops. Hand hygiene and social distancing measures were scrupulously encouraged everywhere we went and we all spoke about how much safer socializing felt than back home in the UK. The beaches were less crowded, you had the pick of your choice of restaurant tables and the overall atmosphere was one of pure relaxation.

In these strange times we feel really lucky to have been able to enjoy a foreign holiday this summer and this is thanks, once again, to the generosity of the Impact Team. We’ve been back in the UK a couple of weeks now and our quarantine period is coming to an end so, naturally, we’re already planning the next visit!

Darren Frost & Thomas Upfold

(Not forgetting our two boys James & Joshua)”

If you wish to nominate or fundraise for someone you know who would benefit from a respite break in one of Impact’s luxury villas in Playa Blanca, Lanzarote, then please get in touch, further information can be found in the link below:

https://www.impactliving.org/respite-breaks/

Acts of Kindness


During lockdown, we were encouraged to “Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives”

For many of us, it has been difficult being apart from loved ones while trying to cope with self-isolation, maintaining connections over telephone and video calls…

…however, for those who live in Impact Living, many who are estranged from family, they rely heavily on their social contact with close neighbours within the scheme.

At the beginning of April, an appeal was published on social media by the support team, to help raise funds for items that would help reduce loneliness and the impact on tenants’ mental wellbeing during lockdown.

We would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all those who donated. The funds raised enabled support workers to provide personalised ‘stay at home’ activities to those they support, including; puzzles, packs of cards, mindful colouring books, crafts and comics.

One of the posters created by resident Wendy Matthews, using colouring pencils donated by you. Wendy now displays her posters proudly in her living room window to brighten up the days of all those who walk by!

POPI (Pass on Preloved Items)

In Bradford we have been working with Pass on Pre-Loved Items (POPI) for some time now. POPI are a registered charity based in Keighley that are devoted to families who are in need of essential baby items. POPI have helped 1032 families with 5362 items so far this year.

Ways POPI have helped Impact:

POPI have now donated to a number of families in our Bradford South scheme and have helped with essential items such as nappies, wipes and clothes. As well as passing on preloved items, POPI also raise funds and buy new mattresses or safety gates for families who need them.

Chloe and Sam’s Story:

One of the family’s POPI have helped includes Chloe and her husband Sam. Chloe and Sam have been on a low income for some time now and have really struggled to get essential items for their daughter Alisha who is now 18 months old. Chloe and Sam have told our staff that if it wasn’t for the help of POPI and their Support Worker at Impact they really don’t know how they would have managed to get what they needed for their daughter. They couldn’t thank POPI enough for all the help they have received.

How we help POPI!

POPI is run by a team of hard-working volunteers managed by Samantha Craven. At Impact we try to repay the favour as much as we can and ask tenants if they are able to donate any of their preloved items back to POPI. We also keep up to date with all things POPI related via their Facebook page; printing off an up to date list of donations required and displaying it in our offices to see if anyone can help. POPI are also registered on Amazon Smile, which means if you add them as your charity on there then they will receive 5% donation from your purchase at no extra cost to you!

For further information, please follow their pages in the links below:

Crofton Court, Bradford

Thank you to Waller & Partners, Howdens, Dudley Hill Carpets and Sonic Direct for your services.

Last Summer our development team successfully completed the renovation of Phase 2 of Crofton Court; converting 2 flats into 4 one-bed flats, fitted with brand new open-plan kitchens, windows and flooring.

Due to closures of many businesses and lack of supplies during the pandemic, completion of the next phase has proven a little more challenging.

Although there has been slower progression than anticipated, we are extremely pleased to announce that the brand-new onsite security and housing management office is now in operation!

Staff Achievements

Well done to James and Jack on completing your Medication Administration Level 2 Qualification

World Suicide Prevention Month

“The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds.

This year, the theme for World Suicide Prevention day is ‘Working Together to Prevent Suicide’.”

Healthwatch, 2020

Jon’s story:

Jon, from Bradford, was a vulnerable young man. Brought up by two alcoholic parents. He also became the victim of sexual abuse as a child. He was vulnerable, bullied and struggled to maintain relationships with girls. Jon’s parents were hard and brutal, especially his father. Jon craved positive attention from parents who didn’t have the capacity to be affectionate or give Jon the time and patience he needed. Jon started drinking when he was 14 and by the time, he was 22 he was an alcoholic.

Jon found himself a girlfriend who was patient and gave him the affection he needed; however, she couldn’t support Jon as fully as he required, so they moved into Impact in 2004 when Jon was 24.

Jon was assigned a key support worker, who helped and supported him in giving up alcohol. Jon was doing so well in Impact that he was given the opportunity to commence a traineeship with our maintenance team in painting and decorating. He was doing well; achieving his goals, finding new friends and was addressing his alcoholism and receiving psychiatric help.

Jon was a popular, likeable lad. He stopped seeing his parents; who were a negative influence on him and he thrived with the right support. Jon attended some art classes at Impact. He was asked to draw 2 pictures of his life before and after coming to Impact. One depicted a night-life of alcohol, just drinking bottles of cider; the second picture depicted his home at Impact with good friends, his life was getting better through gaining his first job and he had found love; from his girlfriend and good friends at Impact.

At the time Jon and his girlfriend had been with us for 2 years; Impact was funded by Supporting People and Bradford Council. Due to this; we had a directive from Supporting People that our clients should ‘move on’ once they had been receiving our help and support for 2 years. We assisted and supported Jon and his girlfriend into independent living accommodation and Jon continued with his traineeship in our maintenance team.

Not long after moving out, Jon found out that his girlfriend had found someone else and they split up. Jon moved back in with his parents but continued confiding in his friends at Impact. At this time, Jon was often the target of bullies who would beat him up when he went to collect his money from the Post Office. The staff at Impact could see that Jon was going downhill; his mental health and well-being were deteriorating. We encouraged him to come and move back into Impact accommodation.

Sadly, in the week that Jon was due to move back into our accommodation, he was targeted again outside the Post Office where he collected his money. He was beaten up, stamped on the face, given a black eye and his money and valuables were taken. Jon went to his parents’ house in a desperate state of mind, poured paint thinner over his head and set himself on fire in his parents’ garden, in full view of his parents. Jon’s parents tried desperately to put the fire out and an ambulance was quickly in attendance. Jon had received over 30% burns to his body and sadly doctors were not able to help. Four days later Jon passed away.

This event had a devastating effect on Jon’s friends and family, it has taught the staff at Impact that you cannot give a time limit on how much support clients, whether young or old, require to recover from a traumatic life, or a life affected by drugs and alcohol. It is down to Impact as an organisation to create the right environment in which we can help, support, care and provide the right network of agents with a lot of time and patience.

For anyone with alcohol issues, we take special care and attention; ensuring they receive the right care and support from specialists to get the very best treatment.

Creativity Programme

Jon’s story has inspired us to research the feasibility of an art programme as part of Suicide Prevention month. A 2-3-year pilot project which would enable us to monitor and evaluate the benefits of an in-house creativity programme with the aim to prevent those who have complex mental health or dual diagnosis, experiencing episodes of mental health crisis or relapse that often results in hospital admission.

The creativity programme would involve:

  • Employing a project leader and workers to deliver one-to-one arts and crafts sessions within our clients’ homes
  • Weekly peer workshops
  • Virtual exhibitions or suitable venues to showcase art
  • Identifying if the programme is beneficial to helping any those with particular mental health conditions or substance addictions

Further resources:

Andrew’s Story

“Andrew is a gentleman who when he first arrived to Impact Living in November 2018 identified he was unable to put his trust in others. Andrew with some assurance and encouragement shared his past experiences and reflected on his involvements with the Police from an early age. Having identified he never felt safe, he wanted a place of his own and was looking for someone who he could trust. When asked what help he would like, he described having suffered anxiety from the age of 14, he found it difficult to express his thoughts and wishes. He was lost in a confused state of emotions. What was important for Andrew was to have a place of his own. A safe environment he could get himself sorted out and was prepared to work in partnership with our services to assist him.

With the Tenancy in place and with Andrews willingness to engage in our services it was evident that we would require the addition of other professional services to help overcome his troubled past. Andrew showed a willingness to move his life forward and was gaining our trust. He could see we had a commitment from our weekly engagements to help him regain his self-esteem. With the participation of the Probation services, Horizons (drug support services), Social workers, and Psychiatrist. We coordinated these involvements to ensure that Andrew was receiving the appropriate services to improve his lifestyle. Andrew was developing skills in dealing with some of the issues he had difficulties addressing in the past. Confidence was growing, his self-worth and the belief he could do better.

Over the past 18 months Andrew has re-established contact with his children he had not seen for many years. Support and encouragement were provided for Andrew to go through the courts to enable this to happen and is now having regular contact with his children. The safe accommodation provided with Impact has allowed Andrew to have routine sleep overs for all his children under the same roof. This has been a positive development for the whole family and has provided greater opportunity for Andrew and his family to re-establish many years of missed moments of joy.

Andrew regularly identified in the early days of our weekly support sessions, he had a great deal of energy and wanted to put this to some use. Andrew explained he had an NVQ in painting and decorating and wanted to volunteer his skills. A trial period was arranged and this proved a great success. Andrew can be seen daily putting his skills and enthusiasm into brightening up the inside and outside of the property he proudly feels a part of. This involvement continued to prove so successful Andrew was asked if he wished to consider a position of a Trainee Maintenance worker with Impact. Andrew was delighted with the offer and immediately said he would. As from the 6th July a contract was issued and Andrew is now a valued member of the team.

A number of professionals who know Andrew and have provided a range of valuable support services, are frequently saying they cannot believe it is the same person. It is a great success. It is good to hear he is more settled. More importantly Andrew acknowledges he has made a great deal of progress and is thankful for our support and encouragement. I asked Andrew what he identifies as his greatest achievement. Andrew stated, having contact with his children, having his own flat where they are safe and having a job. Andrew associates this success with the involvement of Impact Living and our commitment to work with him. Andrew said he is thankful to be given the chance and that we trust and believe in him. Andrew now has ambitions to become more engaged with his role as a team member and is prepared to work on developing his skills that will hopefully lead to promotion and additional responsibilities.”

David Crampton, Team Leader, The Cornmill Scheme

Virtual Fundraising Ideas:

Why not get involved in Fundraising for Impact Living???

When hosting online events or activities, donations can be made through entry fees, tickets, vouchers, custom donation pages, subscriptions, event registration fees;

  • Host a Virtual Quiz or Gameshow i.e. Family Fortunes
  • Cyber Walk or Run, tracked by Apps such as My Fitness Pal
  • Host an Online Auction, Bingo or Raffle
  • Participate in a Marathon which can be live-streamed, i.e. 24-hour music marathon including a DJ
  • Host Online Workshops or Webinars; cooking, yoga, exercise, make-up tutorial
  • Online Gaming tournament
  • Paint or Craft night
  • Exchange a Digital Download with Donation, i.e. photo prints, postcards
  • From the sofa ‘Live Lounge’ Gig event

Alternative fundraising ideas also include:

  • Make face coverings to exchange for donations

https://fundraising.co.uk/2020/04/22/more-virtual-fundraising-ideas-when-you-are-stuck-at-home/

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