Community helps build visitor pod at Upper Beeding care home to keep residents safe

Relatives will be able to visit their loved ones at an Upper Beeding care home without fear of transmitting the virus, thanks to efforts by the local community.

The pod was opened last week
The pod was opened last week

Volunteers came together to build an external visitor pod at Valerie Manor in Henfield Road.

The pod is divided by a glass screen, meaning masks are unnecessary.

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Visitors and their relatives can sit together, almost as though they were in the same room, without the need to stay two metres apart from one another.

The first resident to use the pod

The pod came about after the care home reached out to the local community in August, asking whether anyone could help build one.

Director Zoe Fry said they had ‘a spectacular response’.

The project was led by James Wilmot from Timber Rooms, while other businesses involved included Benchmark Windows, Gardner & Scardifield, Southdown Flooring, Steyning Rugby Club and Maple Electrics

Zoe said: “The amount of volunteers who donated materials, time, food, drink and laughter was something for the community to be so proud of.”

James Wilmot from Timber Rooms

The pod was completed earlier this month and opened its doors to visitors last week.

Zoe said: “This will now allow our relatives and friends to visit safely and enjoy seeing each other without wearing masks and with the aid of the communication system that a relative kindly donated.

“The POD even has WIFI to allow families to come together in a Zoom meeting or share photos while visiting.

“In incredibly difficult times, this has made everyone so happy and has completely melted my heart.”

The pod

One relative who used the pod for the first time last week described it as ‘a triumph’.

They said: “Everything worked perfectly - Mum could hear me clearly, and I could hear her fine.

“Since I had no mask, and could sit comparatively close - a normal distance, we talked much more naturally.

“I think a really big factor is that she was warm and comfy, so she seemed much happier and more talkative.

“I think it’s an amazing thing that everyone has done, and the structure itself is most impressive as well.

“So huge thanks to everyone, and I look forward to visiting Mum next week more than ever!’