8 May 2020

'Lockdown' - Week 7 - from a front line Support Worker

We talk to Cath Kennedy, another of our amazing Support Workers working on the front line.

Initially, like the rest of us, clients were all wondering what was going on and asking lots of questions. All we could do then was tell them what we knew and that we were going by Government guidelines. Most clients have been really good since. I had one client move on the day of lockdown – I would normally go and sit with him and help sort out his bills to get it all set up for him, but I just dropped off his starter pack and we had to do the rest over the phone.  He’s alright now, he’s settled in and is managing.

I’m supporting all my clients over the phone like the rest of the team. Some need more support than others so some I’ll ring twice a week and some I ring every fortnight. They all know where I am if they need anything. I only had one client who I couldn’t get in touch with for a couple of weeks but I managed to speak to his daughter and she told me he was fine but that he goes quiet now and again. I left a message for him and he phoned me back eventually and he’s fine. I’ve also had a former client ringing, she suffers with really bad anxiety and doesn’t like going out or to talk to people she doesn’t know. I’ve given her a set time every week now and I ring her. She just tells me what’s going on with her and likes to have a chat.

I had a client panicking initially about his repeat prescription and whether he’d be able to get his medicine. He’d tried to ring the doctors but couldn’t get through to anyone so started to really panic. I just emailed Beechwood surgery and it was delivered the same week and that put his mind at ease straight away.

I’ve been helping an elderly couple with their shopping who were referred to us from a church. The man is very proud and independent so initially didn’t want any help but he’s really grateful now for the support. He’s staying in and safe with his wife. 

I’ve got a client who is a carer himself. He works in a nursing home. I ring him every week to just make sure he’s ok and he hasn’t caught anything because he doesn’t have anyone else who he can talk to. When he was on his days off and I rang him, he said I was the first voice he’d heard in three days. But he’s fine, he’s doing really well and still enjoying his work.

One of my clients gave birth to a baby boy on Monday. She’s currently living with a family member and we were hoping to have her housed before the baby arrived but a suitable property just hasn’t come up yet. It’s not ideal but they’re managing so far and she’s safe there with the baby until we can find her a property.

I’ve got three clients waiting to be housed with Together Housing. The properties are ready and waiting we just can’t do anything yet because everything’s stopped. They’re all sofa surfing at the moment and fairly happy where they are and at least they’re safe.

In general, it’s just a really weird situation. I like being around people so it’s difficult for me. I don’t like working from home, I prefer being in the office but we’ve got used to it now. I love that we have the group chat with the team and we all support each other. It’s just the same as when we’re in the office really if any of us have any problems we just ring Julie or Belinda and the support is there. I feel for my son, Harry. He’s 11 so he’s missing out on his last few weeks of primary school and I feel so sorry for the kids missing out on their leaving parties. He’s been really good with me working from home. He occupies himself and knows when I’m working and need to zone out. We’ve started baking together every Friday on my days off and it’s been brilliant. I feel like most people out and about are dealing with it well and sticking to the rules, it’ll just be so nice when everything gets back to normal.