How we change lives Stories from the people we support Overcoming a fear of masks during a pandemic Kenny is one of the people we support in our West Dunbartonshire, Argyll and Bute branch. At the moment he is supported three or four times a week to go on a range of outings, from the bingo to trips to Loch Lomond. Recently he completed the 42 for 42 Cornerstone challenge having walked 42 miles over the course of February. Since he was a child, Kenny has struggled to wear anything on his face. This recently became a significant problem during COVID restrictions. It was hard for all of us to adjust to mask-wearing but for Kenny it was even more of a challenge. His mum would frequently practise with him to help him get used to the feeling of the mask on his face. They started gradually - wearing the mask indoors for a short time - and slowly Kenny built up his ability to wear one. To help him feel more comfortable, Kenny's mum ordered him an Elvis mask - his favourite - and this really helped him get more comfortable, but it was still a challenge. It took a lot of practise but with lots of determination, and patience Kenny can now wear a mask for long periods without any problems. This huge achievement means Kenny and his family are able to feel more confident when out in the community. But masks weren't the only challenge Kenny had to overcome during the pandemic. Kenny is a very sociable person and loves clubs, pubs and getting out and about, so lockdown had a massive impact on his usual routine. Like most of us, Kenny has spent long periods of time at home during the pandemic. He shielded completely for a number of months, keeping in touch with his friends and support through calls and video chats. His support worker would visit Kenny in the garden, chatting through the kitchen window which was vastly different to the in-person visits Kenny was used to. As time went on and restrictions eased, Kenny was able to go on local walks and his support gradually increased. Slowly, he is returning to his old routine, getting back out again and enjoying longer and more frequent support visits. Now Kenny enjoys days out four or five times a week and doing nearly all the things he used to love; enjoying days out to Balloch, Glasgow and trips to go bowling. Kenny’s support team are delighted at Kenny’s achievements. Team leader, Pauline who was Kenny’s support worker last year explained. “I am really proud of him. We all are.” “Kenny’s smile and laugh cheer everyone up and seeing his journey towards some sort of normality has been delightful.” In recognition of all his hard work, determination and progress, Kenny was nominated by his support team for Cornerstone’s recent Mary Williamson Awards. He was awarded runner up an received a £100 prize. Kenny aims to spend his money on tickets to a gig! If you would like to read more stories from the people we support you can click here.