"I’m providing phone support to clients in our Learning Disability Support services"
Small interactions in our daily lives are so important. We might not be friends with our bus driver or shopkeeper but the conversations we have are vital.
My name’s Stuart and I’m one of Southdown’s new Volunteer Reservists. For me, being a Reservist means mucking in and helping wherever I can in the organisation.
When a crisis happens in this country, the majority of people will step in and help people who are struggling. There are over 900 people working for Southdown and I see it as us following in the footsteps of the NHS and doing what we can to help.
I’m a Housing Brokerage Officer which means I work with people who are on probation to find somewhere to live. Due to the pandemic, my role has changed a bit. Usually I meet people face-to-face in the community but now I am working from home. I’m still in contact with clients, services, and liaising with councils.
As part of my volunteer role, I’m providing phone support to clients in our Learning Disability Support services. Three months is a long time to be alone especially if you’re a sociable person. We have a part to play in making sure vulnerable people are not left out and this is my way of helping Southdown continue to support people safely, without putting my girlfriend and her mum who is currently living with us at risk.
I enjoy meeting new people and it’s nice to get a taste of what other people do here. My Southdown colleagues are an amazing bunch. Whether they’re in IT or working in one of our Wellbeing Centres, they’re all important and make Southdown a special organisation.
The first client I will be supporting is a guy is from a Learning Disability Support service who is self-isolating at his mum’s house. He usually spends his time between the two homes and had to choose where to stay during this time. It’s difficult for him to cope with the isolation and disruption to his routine.
This week was the first call over phone but a video call in the future might be a possibility. I will call him every Monday but I said he can call me anytime in between our weekly chat. He’s a big Brighton and Hove Albion fan and likes his music so we’re a good match. We’ll be building rapport over time.
Small interactions in our daily lives are so important. We might not be friends with our bus driver or shopkeeper but the conversations we have are vital. This Volunteer Reservist service is replacing those during the pandemic and it’s allowing people to have conversations with people who share similar interests. We want people to be as happy as they can be and to reduce loneliness.
My message to people right now is to use this time to reflect and stay positive. This is a chance to bring us all closer together. Just do what you can – however little it might be. It will make a difference. And stay home!
Southdown Reservists are employees from Southdown’s Community Support Services and Central Services who have volunteered to step forward and offer help to their Learning Disability Support colleagues. During the pandemic, our Learning Disability Support services are being shielded with clients no longer undertaking community visits and services not receiving any non-essential visitors.