Adapting During Lockdown

Dave C – Hawkspring Business Coordinator

On March 23rd 2020, life for Hawkspring changed as it did for most of the country. Coronavirus or Covid-19 arrived on to the doorstep of our charity. We had in fact made the decision on Thursday 19th to close the office, but that did not mean we would stop providing a service to our clients. The entire Hawkspring team would work remotely. Staff were worried for their health and some staff experienced Covid-19 symptoms in the early days of lockdown, but more importantly we were concerned for our clients who, without our service, would be distressed and experiencing a decline in health and wellbeing.

Before the lockdown, the focus of our work was face-to-face 1:1s. We were going to have to adapt, and quickly. Fortunately, we had some small donations of funding which I had ring-fenced to allow me to purchase some second hand iPhones 3 months previously, and donation of a refurbished iPad and office laptop from Lloyds Foundation Prior to lockdown, these had enabled us to do Skype calls and video sessions with clients when they couldn’t access the office because of lack of childcare or work commitments. Now this these came into their own.

So that was our entire home support equipment to continue supporting in excess of 70 active clients plus about 20 on the waiting list across 3 services, how could we possibly do it? The first thing was to get 2 more second hand iPhones, so that each support worker could at least phone or Skype clients. Then I made a desperate plea to the Lloyds Foundation for 3 more laptops which they kindly agreed to.

We could now start the plan; each support worker would continue supporting the clients that they were already allocated but also take a share of the clients on the waiting lists. We continued to offer 1:1 phone sessions, Skype sessions, text messages and phone messages. I adapted our monitoring system to record new information, knowing this information was important to us and to our funders. We would need to know how successful we had been through this difficult period.

We even found that we could continue to support our young clients (aged between 5 and 13) via phone or Skype with their parents’ permission. Just four weeks later, we could see this way of working would be successful for many, but sadly not all. Many of our recovery clients have no access to technology.

We have also accepted new referrals during this time plus I have emailed 11 local GP surgeries offering them our support to any patients who have issues with substance misuse during lockdown. The support figure is in excess of 80 clients in just 4 weeks. Some clients need several calls a week, sometimes once a day to keep them safe. As the weeks progress our support will become more and more vital in helping them survive and maintain their physical and mental health, until we return as a society to normality.

The move from office working to remote was swift, and a remarkable achievement down to the flexibility and dedication of the team, but also the fantastic support we receive from our funders and suppliers. Thank you to all for giving us the opportunity to save and rebuild lives during these difficult times, and for giving us the platform to continue with our unique whole family approach. Hawkspring needs your continued support to keep us financially stable, to grow as a charity over the coming years and support many more families in need.

 

@symes Community Building

Peterson Avenue, Hartcliffe

Bristol BS13 0BE

E info@hawkspring.org.uk

T 0117 964 2859

F 0117 978 4240