Lockdown also forces positive change!
I doubt that anyone would say that they’ve enjoyed the last few months, and much of that has been down to enforced changes we have all had to make to our lives. Covid has impacted our personal, social and work lives to such an extent we have all had to adapt. But we seem to have reached a stage where conversations have started to include what we might have learned from this experience aswell.
HeadsUp Peer Support Workers (PSW’s) are used to carrying out their work face to face with participants, so of course this has had to change over recent months. Contact has continued though, with great use of the telephone. Indeed, the whole participant journey can be carried out via phone and other tech if required from enrolment, through job searching and well being chats.
This was a difficult transition for PSW’s and to begin with many weren’t keen as they prefer to meet people face 2 face. But it has proved to be a very useful timesaving method of staying in contact with participants. For example, when job-searching over the phone it takes much less time, about 30 – 45 minutes per appointment which makes it possible to contact two participants in a 90-minute window instead of one.
Positive outcomes have been achieved all the way through the lockdown period, for example a PSW supported a participant in applying to do a Construction Skills Certification Scheme course, and another was supported to make applications for several job roles – all arranged by phone appointments and email.
Whilst there is no ignoring just how tricky recent months have been in many ways, its great to also be able to take the positive and acknowledge that there is learning in the strangest of circumstances. Going forward many of our PSW’s have said that they will be considering a mix of contact methods with participants. It’s clearly been demonstrated that whilst face to face contact is really important and will remain a key part of the support offered, there are some appointments that can be carried out by phone leaving more time to offer valuable support to more participants – everybody wins!