Hi, my name is Viv Potter and I am a Supervising Social worker for Calon Cymru in West wales. I have worked for the agency for ten years and seen many changes and faced many challenges but none quite as unique as the last 2 months.
As a team in West Wales we have had to find completely new ways of working as most of our work is done with people face to face in a variety of places covering a lot of distance. We have tried hard to continue giving our carers the same level of support and advice they have always had, but obviously I’ve had to change my usual approach which has tested my IT skills to the limit! This has included holding panels, meetings, training, and supervisions online and trying to support children and carers via What’s app, facetime, or messenger (whatever works best for the individual).
I have been as busy as ever work-wise but my car has not left the drive, it’s really incredible how things quickly transferred to us using other methods of communication and while they are useful, for me nothing will ever take the place of the lasting relationships you build with carers by being with them, not just over the phone but ‘physically’ being there through the good and the bad times.
I have really felt inspired over the last 8 weeks by the carers in the agency as they have all coped so well with some extremely challenging children on a 24/7 basis- all of you are truly awesome! It is a testament to our carer’s abilities to build trust and relationships and to their communication skills with children that so many young people still have stable placements, have adhered to the lockdown restrictions, adapted so well to remaining at home and agreed to cooperate.
Out of everyone in lockdown I think my dogs have benefitted the most. Those of you that know me, know my dogs are family and it’s been great to spend more time with them, indeed there have been times when they have kept me sane! (well almost). I have 4 dogs and they have enjoyed the extra attention and everyone going on the daily walk, which I’ve enjoyed but it’s getting a bit repetitive now- there’s only so many places you can walk from your house!
Like most people during lockdown I have been doing things I would not normally get time to do and I have found some new things to do. So, I have been gardening (we only moved in last year so it needed a lot of work), I have dusted off my paintbrushes and done some art. I have been recording my French Horn playing to be part of several online concerts put together by my band Carmarthen Symphonic Wind Band and recording my singing for a VE day online musical compilation of ‘We’ll meet again’. While ‘We’ll meet again was written about world war two, I feel it is strangely fitting for the current times we are living in. While this lockdown journey has been unique, challenging, and anxiety-provoking at times, I feel it has been a time of personal growth and community spirit. It has been great to see our staff teams and carers pulling together to continue to make things better for children.
It seems the restrictions may soon be lifting and I am certainly looking forward to the time when We’ll meet again !! 😊
Viv Potter .