Adele - Shielding © Anja Poehlmann

Adele is 28 years old and classed as ‘clinically vulnerable’. Like all people with learning disabilities, Adele was identified as having a ‘higher risk of poor outcomes’ from contracting Covid-19. Adele’s multiple medical procedures over the years have also left her prone to infection.

During the lockdowns, Adele shielded with her mum Sheila and dog Mollie. The ‘stay at home’ instruction meant they didn’t go out at all, for anything. They bubbled with two close family members who provided everything so the couple didn’t have to leave their home and risk infection.

Restrictions at Christmas were particularly hard. A traditional gathering with extended family was reduced to just four. “Christmas I hated – I like seeing my family down from London, but it was all stopped,” Adele said.

Although safer, it was very hard staying in. Adele’s mental health was impacted by the prolonged reduction in external, social contact and her speech deteriorated. Remote chats with her best friend, Collette – a daily 4pm Facetime call, provided much needed social interaction.

Before the pandemic, Adele regularly attended Superstar Arts – a Worthing based charity that provides creative projects for young people and adults with learning disabilities. Like other facilities, it closed during lockdown.

This was very difficult for Adele; “I had to leave Superstar Arts. It made me feel really sad and I miss my friends and activities there. I have to wait for the council to say I can go back.”

Adele worked on craft projects at home instead, creating elaborate pictures encrusted with resin crystals. Hours were spent individually sticking hundreds of tiny iridescent ‘gems’ into position with a special pen; “I like doing my gem stuff – it makes the day go quicker.”

Adele had her first injection of the Oxford/Astrazeneca vaccine in January 2021 and the second dose in April. She can’t wait to get back to her friends and creative activities at Superstar Arts. Because visits to the hairdressers were off during lockdown, Sheila cut Adele’s fringe – and she’s looking forward to getting “a proper haircut!”

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Superstar Arts

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