Holly Robertson

Edinburgh-based charity Telfie Central have used creative and innovative methods to engage service users, using the Borders College Skills Accreditation programme (@BordersCollege)  through the challenging COVID times of lockdown, social distancing and restricted contact.

Part of the Redwoods Caring Foundation (Redwoods), Telfie Central provides day services from their base in Portobello. They work in partnership and consultation with other professionals to enhance the quality of life and support for people in Redwoods.

After the first lockdown and when Telfie began to re-open the centre, service users were enrolled onto units, ranging from pencil drawing to cooking and guitar. Some service users were able to attend the setting and gather evidence and complete assessments at Telfie, others however have been based at home, and new ways of working have been put into place.

Julie Lawson, who is an Assessor at Telfie, commented:

“We have had to adapt how we support those who usually come along to our day centre in their Borders College projects. We have done doorstep visits to drop off worksheets and to chat about what they have been doing - we have also used email and zoom to connect and chat with them.

“We have found the Borders College Courses a great tool during lockdown, for those who have still been able to attend and those who can’t – although we have had to find different ways to do the courses remotely the outcomes are the same for all – each student has gained a great deal of satisfaction, and sense of achievement, in having a focus and working towards gaining a certificate in their chosen subject.”

Candidate Holly Robertson, pictured here in the art room at Telfie, said:

“I like drawing everything.”

Borders College Verifier and Skills Accreditation Advisor Liz King commented:

“Different ways for verifying evidence and providing support have had to be developed as usual visits to Telfie have been paused. Information has been shared electronically and I have met with Assessors and candidates using zoom. This has been a great way for evidence to be viewed and candidates have been involved in showing me what they have produced, with the support of Telfie Assessor Julie Lawson.

“It has been a privilege to work with Telfie as they embrace new ways of working to continue to support and engage service users in their learning.”

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