By Leanne Hignett, Service Delivery Director.

This is the first blog I have ever attempted to write personally or professionally and I sit here writing this whilst I watch my two boys take part in their final swimming lesson for the foreeseeable future. I felt it was necessary and the right time, because of all the uncertainty we find ourselves in because of COVID-19 Coronavirus. 

For the past week I have done nothing but plan for our organisation in this really uncertain time.  Plan for my team, plan for our service users, plan for our communities. What am I planning? I’m not sure, it’s forever changing! This week it’s been so busy, doing things I never thought I would ever be doing. I have been following government guidance and following legitimate news channels and I still feel so uncertain.

I lead with a smile, and reassure my team and people who contact our service. Panic will not help this situation, it will only increase the fear, both of which are not my allies. Whilst taking care of our organisation I think of our community, I am deeply saddened by the chaos, grief and loss our world is facing. I am more saddened that some people are not thinking about the impact this virus has for our elders, I am saddened that shoppers are panic buying and not leaving enough stock for those that are high risk and vulnerable to COVID-19, and I am saddened to think that many people will feel alone, scared, isolated and have no one to depend on.

"To the front line workers and Advocates in our communities, let’s do all we can do to keep people connected and safe. Let’s keep our professional curiosity intact, and get creative with our methods of communication for those we support."

I have protected my team and service users as much as I can, what plays on my mind the most is what will happen to those essential safeguards if we enter self isolation and lock down. Health, social care and Advocates play a massive part in protecting and safeguarding the vulnerable and our young people. What happens when we can no longer visit and check people are following the law? What happens if people feel they no longer have a voice and are not being listened to? What happens when the doors are closed when there’s a serious concern about a child?

We have been informed schools are due to close tomorrow, school is a huge safeguard for children and young people who have challenges at home. Teachers can be role models, and saviours for some children and young people, what happens when that safety net is no longer there? With activities and social events being cancelled left right and centre, we are being asked to isolate ourselves as much as we can.

To the front line workers and Advocates in our communities, let’s do all we can do to keep people connected and safe. Let’s keep our professional curiosity intact, and get creative with our methods of communication for those we support. Let’s check on our families, neighbours and friends, let’s offer as much support as we can during this time of uncertainty.

Remember though that you are no use to our community if you don’t look after yourself, practice self care, and look after your mental health and wellbeing and remember, that together we are strong, together we are a community.