"The role of a Southdown Reservist has grown directly out of the current global crisis"

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Reservist

My wife's a nurse so relieving pressure on the NHS is close to home for me.

I'm Chris and I’m a Southdown Reservist. The role of a Southdown Reservist has grown directly out of the current global crisis. 

I see a Reservist as someone who is up for supporting an area of Southdown's work which is different from their regular job but is under pressure. It requires us to get a little bit out of our comfort zone but nonetheless using life skills we've acquired along the way.

I love what Southdown stands for and all the work it does so it naturally followed to heed the call to arms to keep Southdown as effective as possible. It's also down to my mum! She brought me up to never stand by if someone around was in trouble.

I've been with Southdown for nearly two years and my main job is as a Performance Analyst. I look after the reports for a number of Southdown's projects. I try to make sure the data is helping the people in the frontline and to help evidence that we're performing in a way that meets commissioners’ expectations. I also have the power to reset database passwords if any of our workers forget theirs!

As a Reservist I’m helping coordinate food supplies so that they can get to our Worthing and Brighton and Hove Learning Disability Support services. Before the pandemic, services used to be able to make shopping a part of clients' routines but that's not possible right now. So we're checking what the clients need, putting in a bulk order and then coordinating Reservist drivers to deliver to individual sites.

There’s been a bit of juggling during our first week but I’ve got a fab manager who really supports me so I check in with her daily. There have been some longer days this week too whilst we work out the best way to do the new tasks but I think it will settle down soon, and my requests have been met in really good spirit.

We’ve received plenty of gratitude from both the executive and the frontline services even though I actually feel they've got the harder job. Steering the organisation and supporting people with vulnerabilities through these challenging times is quite something. 

To keep ourselves and others safe we’ve been following the clear guidelines regarding social distancing, so we’ve been applying them to the different stages of the delivery process. It feels a bit strange and unspontaneous but it's vital that we do it. My wife's a nurse so relieving pressure on the NHS is close to home for me.

It feels good to help plug any gaps whilst the global crisis persists. Personally, I'd get frustrated if I couldn't do something practical and it's good to stretch ourselves a bit. I think for holistic organisations like ours, flexible trouble-shooting support roles could be good even post-crisis, so maybe we will see some useful new approaches emerge from these times.

Fear is an understandable response right now but Southdown has faced some big challenges since it was first established in 1972. It has come through them all because of its great values and the people of integrity throughout the organisation. This is what will get us through this crisis - and my guess is it will come out even stronger the other side.

 

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.