"There is no 'business as usual' - only adapting and responding to the crisis"
By Alison Deighton, independent living service manager, British Red Cross
Last updated 19 May 2020
The past few weeks have been a rollercoaster for British Red Cross teams. Like so many other key or essential workers, it has been a difficult time, worrying about the personal impact and the impact on family and friends, while continuing to support our service users.
With conflicting information circulating from various sources, it’s certainly been a case of trying to keep our teams safe and motivated. The priority is, and always will be, the safety of our staff and volunteers.
Our partners (NHS trusts) have supplied valuable PPE to meet our short-term needs, for which we are extremely grateful.
Recently there was a tweet that read 'Why I don’t like the term "frontline"’. In truth, we have to agree with the sentiment. The British Red Cross teams are continuing to support the hospitals and communities with whichever tasks are required. They are managing incredibly under difficult, stressful and ever-changing circumstances.
However, aside from the teams that are immediately visible, delivering food and discharging patients, there are also many staff and volunteers working alongside these teams and supporting in other ways.
Continuing services under challenging circumstances
We have coordinators working remotely, either because of the social distancing rules or because they need to remain at home for the mandated 12 weeks. They continue to manage their services and their teams under these very challenging circumstances.
Community connectors is supporting service users by phone and by delivering isolation packs to help combat loneliness. The packs include word searches, colouring sheets, quizzes and a number of other fun tasks.
ASIDE FROM THE TEAMS THAT ARE IMMEDIATELY VISIBLE, THERE ARE MANY STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS WORKING ALONGSIDE AND SUPPORTING THEM IN OTHER WAYS.
The business support team is ensuring their colleagues are available to fulfil their rotas, by taking on the daily tasks of ‘safe and well’ phone calls and inputting all the data that needs to be captured.
Managers are managing their teams, liaising with commissioners, engaging with crisis response, ambulance support and many other colleagues in different directorates across the British Red Cross. These relationships enable us not only to fulfil contractual obligations, but also to listen to and appreciate the concerns of the teams and celebrate their successes.
There is pride in the work we continue to do
Redeployed staff have been a lifeline for the independent living and crisis response services, by providing much needed capacity on the ground. These staff members are up to date with all their training and have really hit the ground running to help in whatever way they can.
There are so many essential roles: IT support, independent living, crisis response, refugee services, mobility aids, etc. Ultimately the focus is the same and one thing is always certain – that there is pride in the work we all continue to do.
There is no ‘business as usual’ any more; there is only adapting to the challenges at hand and responding to crisis, which is the in the DNA of the British Red Cross.
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