A day in the life of... a Day Service Co-ordinator!
Our surroundings may be a bit different, but we're busier than ever working to support all of our members across East London. We caught up with 3 of our co-ordinating team who usually work at the day centre (and keywork up to 15 members each) to see what a "typical" day looks like at the moment....
BRYN: Day centre co-ordinator & keyworker
9am: This morning we’re taking requests from members for the first Headway East London radio show under quarantine. S sends ‘Splendid Isolation’ by Warren Zevon; J sends ‘Corinna, Corinna’ by Bob Dylan. M recommends Talking Heads, and during the broadcast texts me a running commentary on the songs played: “Soppy” (Rita Ora), then “Better…” (Led Zeppelin) and finally (Boys II Men) “Sh*te!”.
11am: Video call with L; our first attempt at a distant music session. It’s great to see her singing with the same passion she brings to Headway every week. We play ‘Hallelujah’ together with a slight delay, our calls both occasionally freezing so we then have to track back and get in time with each other again.
12pm: Call to R. He’s already on Skype with his Headway support worker, who I can hear down the phone line. We’re trying to figure out R’s level of risk during Corona, talking to his consultant. We know he’s vulnerable, but is he ‘extremely vulnerable’? If not, in one way it’s a relief - he’s less at risk from the virus - but it also means there will be less help for him.
12.30pm: Setting up a new mobile phone, donated by my dad, for F, a member from Latvia who speaks very little English, and also has aphasia. Without video calls, contact with F will be very difficult. I download an image of one of his paintings from the art studio website and set it as the background. It feels like small details like this will matter a lot in preserving our community through this time.
Lunch: Thawed ratatouille, for the third day in a row....
In the afternoon, I walk down to our centre to fetch gloves so I can deliver shopping to some members next week. When I get home, I have a message from S, who has been sending me prank emails for the last three years. “I have just been allowed out by my care home to go shopping in my face mask for a few essentials. Tobacco, gin, cocaine, that sort of thing…”
KAT: Volunteer co-ordinator & keyworker
6am(ish): Wake up and have coffee ☕
6.30am: Bit of exercise to wake up! I've started to learn how to skip - I'm totally useless at the moment but hoping to improve!
8.30am: Caffeine (yes again) ☕ Sometimes out in the garden area weather permitting.
9am: Checking emails in the new office aka bedroom and if it's sunny hotdesking it outside. 🌞
10am onward: Calling the members I keywork; checking if they're OK, having a chat, asking if they want to do the Daily Quiz or need help with the CCC (Creative Community Challenge), asking if they need anything and linking them with other teams such as therapies when appropriate.
1pm(ish): Have some lunch with Mr Lizard who is loving the fact that everyone is at home and he gets a pile of attention! 🦎
After lunch: Continued calls with members and I' m also calling volunteers to keep in touch and see if they have been doing the Quiz and the CCC (we're now also setting up calls between our members and volunteers which is great!). Twice-weekly we also have a Zoom debrief with the rest of the team to see how they are, and how we can help each other out.
CONNIE: Art Studio Co-ordinator & keyworker
9am: First thing in the morning I sit down at my desk and check my emails, which can build up as I work part-time. I’m very fortunate to have this lovely space in which to work, surrounded by my house plants and craft materials.
10 am: I try and do some yoga every morning with my little boy. We use a brilliant YouTube channel called ‘Cosmic Kids’ which manages to work yoga into stories about magical bananas and rocket trips to the moon.
11am: Video meeting with the rest of the art studio team. It’s been a challenge for us to figure out ways to reach out to our artists and also to engage the wider community. We developed the idea of the Creative Community Challenge where we send out a daily email that contains an activity, a phrase or a question to spark creativity, which has had an amazing response and brings me so much joy to look through the entries.
12pm: Early lunchtime on a toddler’s schedule. Our favourite family lunch is baked potato, beans and cheese.
1pm onward: My boy has a nap around this time so I can knuckle down to some writing or make some phone calls to members. This afternoon I have a Skype call with a member who I used to key work. He shows me his incredible sunglasses collection (over 300!). My favourite are the pink pair with yellow chicks hatching from the frames!
Closing our doors was an incredibly hard decision, not only because of the implications for our membership; it also brings financial repercussions that will add a further strain on our charity as we continue running. If you have considered donating to us before, PLEASE do it now, so that we can keep heading out in the community to support those who are isolated and need specialist care and support that only places like Headway East London can deliver. We've also put together some other creative ways you can help - and will keep adding to these.