On this page we will be sharing case studies we receive from Nova Members on the work they are carrying out to continue to support communities during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The S.M.a.S.H Society

The group

The S.M.a.S.H Society is a small community group of 5 volunteers who work within Wakefiel District, covering all areas.

The S.M.a.S.H Society provides support for people with varying issues that are affecting their health and wellbeing, from a long-term health condition, or living/caring with someone with said condition, right through to people who are feeling lonely and socially isolated. The group gets together, normally, in community venues and allow people time and space to be able to converse with others who potentially having similar issues. The reason they say that is, whilst they are not experts on particular issues, the society are experts on how those issues make them feel, and how they affect daily lives. Members of the group help each other deal with frustration, anger, fear etc. that are associated with many issues. S.M.a.S.H. helps people build confidence to speak with others, over time, and hopefully they can then move forward and realise that they are not totally alone.

Coronavirus Response

Unfortunately due to the current situation with the Coronavirus outbreak and lockdown restrictions, the group is now unable to meet in a group setting.

Fortunately, S.M.a.S.H already had a group Facebook page and a Twitter account where people can chat and ‘congregate’ to support each other, this has been working for some time. It means that people do not have to share personal details like phone numbers etc. they can ‘meet’ online.

Due to Coronavirus and lockdown, S.M.a.S.H Society has decided to extend social media platforms and purchase Zoom for video chats. THe S.M.a.S.H Society has started an online meeting, every day, between 6.00pm - 7.00pm. Group members can join in using Zoom or on a Facebook live stream.

By doing this, the S.M.a.S.H Society can continue in the usual, although differing, manner. And, just like at groups, some people just want to hear different voices etc. Particularly if they are ‘shielding’ etc. or have little family/friend communication.

As some of their participants tend to be classed as some of the most vulnerable in society, they often find themselves either without the appropriate I.T. equipment to join in, or they have little money for data/credit etc to allow them to contact who they wish. The S.M.a.S.H Society is therefore also providing equipment to people, on short term loan i.e laptops/tablets/phones etc, to allow them to get involved. Part of that is to also provide credit for data for users, where we pre-pay data allowances via the appropriate apps. to enable them to either contact us, or whoever they need to get the appropriate support.

This at first was a barrier for the group, but they have overcome this by pre programming equipment, and providing guides on how to use the software/equipment.

Impact

By being able to carry on with their meetings, S.M.a.S.H has been able to continue with their long-term project of supporting each other. S.M.a.S.H states that some people genuinely struggle to ask for help from people they do not know but, by doing this; they have been able to help them directly with food/bills/benefits etc. One person explained: “I thought this would be the end for me, I wouldn’t dare ask for help, I probably am not worth anyone helping me. I was scared that I would have no food, no electric to watch the TV. I was really thinking that I was going to be sectioned again. I would have gone mad. I can’t thank you enough".

S.M.a.S.H is also preventing people from having to access the NHS by helping them to ensure they don't enter a crisis situation. One person said: “By now I would probably have had to ring 999, but I know that you are there for me during this time, and I can cope”.

Comments like that reinforce to S.M.a.S.H that they are doing the right thing by using funding to continue to support people.