This week's Front-line interview is with Chris, our Learning Programme Facilitator. He runs our English and Art classes where people experiencing homelessness learn fundamental skills, build their confidence and reintegrate into society so they can rebuild their lives away from the streets.
I've learnt that the Coronavirus attacks more than our bodies; it attacks how we can be and work together. It's been so sad to watch the disintegration of so many important services for our clients; many of whom are vulnerably housed, experiencing homelessness or rough-sleeping. But seeing Providence Row's response has made me hopeful- seeing the values of Providence Row in motion and knowing these will never disintegrate.
When we were able to work at the Day Centre, key workers had to adapt their job roles enormously to serve the most pressing of our clients' needs - housing and health taking priority above all else. Even the Day Centre was changed to serve the needs of our clients' best. The art room became a self-isolation room; the activity room became a room for assessments where social distancing could be maintained; the 'what's on in the community' board became a space for hopeful images and words.
Regrettably, now it has been deemed not safe enough for us, staff and clients, to be physically together in these spaces. So where does that leave me, my team, our clients and everyone involved in the Learning and Wellbeing programme? Well, usually, we face the challenge of reducing social isolation, but now we're living in a world where 'self-isolating' is exactly what the government is asking us to do.
As front-line workers, we must find new ways to stay in contact with our clients, who've achieved so much with us, even though we are physically so far away. We are reaching out to our clients, wherever they are, performing welfare checks through phone calls, emails, letters, and giving them resources in whatever innovative, and creative ways we can come up with to maintain our work and their progress. And our clients are trusting in us to do so.