When lockdown hit, the Children’s Participation and Support Leaders weren’t sure what our roles were going to look like. After all, we spend most of our working hours out with the young people. Our first thought was the wellbeing of our young people, so it was decided early on into lockdown that we were going to call our young people every fortnight for a welfare check. After a couple of these calls, we gave our young people the option for us to continue to call them every two weeks or to call them every three or four weeks. They also had the choice of talking over the phone or over video call. It was important to us that our young people weren’t overwhelmed with calls during lockdown.
On the welfare calls, I would ask the young people how they are and what they have been up to. A lot of the young people I had spoken to had been spending a lot of time outside in their gardens and spending time with their foster families. Many of our young people had been growing vegetables in their gardens and were helping maintain them. One of our young people had even been helping their carer with lambing as they work on an active farm. I was very envious of this and asked the carer to send in lots of photo of the lambs!
The welfare calls also helped me to identify those young people that could require some extra support. I worked with one of our young people looking at a book on how to manage their feelings. We completed this over Facetime and it was such a boost to see one of our young people thriving, despite the difficult situation lockdown posed. I was mindful that our young people who can see their birth families were probably missing out on contact with them, so I wanted them to feel I was a familiar face for them to have around.
I also worked with a young person over Facetime to complete an Easter Craft. The young person worked with their carer and me to create something for Easter. It was lovely to be able to have this time with both the young person and carer to catch up and talk about what we have been up to. We also held virtual craft sessions with our young people which was super fun and we all made robots and jet packs from everyday household bits and pieces. The young people even got to see my new puppy over Facetime. She was very popular indeed!
Bethan – Affinity Participation and Support Lead
"During lockdown our Children’s Participation and Support Workers, led by Vicky, supported our young people in novel ways to ensure their ongoing support and reassurance in the uncertain times. They were also the first Affinity staff back out in the field after lockdown, to provide support to our young people and foster carers alike. Working closely with our Supervising Social Workers, our Participation and Support Workers add a unique layer of interaction with foster carers and young people. In their support role they support out of school young people, parent and child placements and children who could benefit from direct one-on-one work. We have a Participation and Support lead in every area we work in, to ensure everyone benefits from this brilliant support network."
Andy Robins – Assistant Director