Deputy Operations Manager/Parent and Child Co-Ordinator

I am Helen Suter. Deputy Operations Manager for Calon Cymru West Wales and Parent and Child Co-Ordinator. My role involves supervising and supporting social workers and support workers and giving advice and support to social workers and support workers when they need it. I also oversee the parent and child service, so match referrals to carers and organise regular meetings in order to keep the Local Authority up to date.

We are truly in unprecedented times and never in my career have we experienced situation quite like this. I guess the closest thing was the fuel strikes of the early noughties, but even then, we managed to complete most visits and life didn’t seem that interrupted.

It is a very odd situation not being able to visit carers and children face to face. I think most of us are managing to speak to carers and children via video calls or phone and have now adapted to the “new normal”.  Within the first few days of using video conferencing, I realised that my walls needed painting- not easy when B&Q was closed! After painting, I then discovered we can change the background of our photos on the screen. (Not told husband this yet!)

I know all of our social workers are missing visiting carers and children. We are truly in awe of all of you who are managing lockdown and explaining this situation to children while keeping them safe and continuing to provide as much normality for our young people as possible. We have been inspired by how, in addition, to all of the other things you normally do in a day, advocate for children, contact relevant professionals for them, provide them with counseling, being chefs, cleaners, taxi drivers and nurses, many of you have now added teachers and with the help of Joe Wickes, P.E instructors to your skill sets!

I know many of us can’t wait for lockdown to end but the main thing is we stay Safe and Well.

Personally, I am happy to wait a few more weeks, if only for pure vanity reasons, having attempted my own DIY hair cut and being over enthusiastic on the fringe!!!

Thank you to all of you for doing what you do for our young people and you are all truly amazing.