Frontline staff across the housing sector have been working tirelessly to support residents throughout the Coronavirus and today the nation is uniting for the Big Housing Thank You.
Many of our most vulnerable tenants live within our care and support homes in and around London and there has been a huge drive throughout the organisation to ensure the best possible services at this difficult time.
Building staffing capacity
The workforce pressures of the Covid-19 crisis caused by the need of some staff to self-isolate or shield together with increased care hours were always likely to take their toll on services. To combat these issues staff across Notting Hill Genesis joined forces to deliver an enhanced virtual recruitment process for care workers. We spread the news far and wide using our website and social media channels, in addition to the ways we would normally advertise vacancies. We also managed to reduce the screening, testing and interviewing process down to just five days from the initial expression of interest.
Within weeks we had launched a new induction programme aligned to the Care Certificate standards and secured free places with a Department of Health-recommended provider, alongside our regular providers, to introduce online training.
The first of our qualified and vetted applicants started work in April and are now providing vital frontline care to tenants. The programme has been such a success that we have filled the vacancies we need right now. However we know we can relaunch the programme if the need arises.
No-one needs to be alone
Not all frontline work has to be face-to-face. Maintaining our communities even in a time of social distancing is vital, especially for many of our older or more vulnerable residents who may be feeling particularly isolated.
We have stepped up our well-being checks and encouraged the use of simple technology, such as installing WhatsApp, so residents can keep in touch with family and friends. One family member said:
It was so reassuring to see Mum today on WhatsApp. She lives with dementia, is over 80, and while staff have been really helpful, actually seeing her and saying hello has made all the difference.
We have also introduced Call and Chat, a telephone befriending service so those who are lonely and/or anxious can connect and converse with volunteers. As a special VE Day treat customers were encouraged to share their memories of celebrations over the 75 years since peace was declared. Where we can’t get hold of people over the phone, we have couriered letters or gifts to show we are still here and our residents are not alone.
GoodGym – runners doing a good turn while keeping fit
With so many of our customers needing to shield or isolate, we partnered with GoodGym to allow volunteers to deliver food, essentials and even medication to those unable to get out or receive visitors. Runners are trained to observe social distancing guidelines and keep themselves and the vulnerable safe while collecting and delivering shopping during their daily runs.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to GoodGym and their volunteers for helping make this happen so quickly.