When I started as the Operations Manager at POW in November 2019, I never imagined we would be working during a global pandemic. When COVID-19 started hitting the news we all wondered what this would mean for POW and our clients. I felt a mixture of emotions: apprehensive, optimistic and everything in between. Over the last 3 months this pandemic has shown me that where there is adversity there is opportunity, and where there is resilience we can overcome – and the POW team is nothing if not resilient! Here’s a sample of one of my days working in lockdown.
I phone a local Police Officer who specialises in Child Sexual Exploitation around a concern that has been raised that we need to share with them. The PC will speak with our Vice team to look at any intelligence around this.
I speak with social care about a domestic abuse case and we talk about safety and any concerns we have.
Just received an e-mail from somebody wanting to volunteer for us. I’m blown away by their experience, interest and generosity. We’ve gotten a lot of interest in volunteers since COVID-19 started and I feel really positive about the future of the volunteer team at POW as it expands and people can start to work with us when we re-open services.
I call a volunteer about cooking to make sure we have enough meals to hand out in our food parcels to clients. We usually have a cook in our building on a Monday, but since lockdown when our building closed this hasn’t been possible. Instead we’ve had people batch cooking for us and I’ve had to store meals in my garage freezers. My garage has become a temporary storage facility for everything POW!
I start to prep my car for a busy day out in the car with one of our workers. We go out twice a week to see people who have contacted us and are in need of support such as food parcels, food bank vouchers, toiletries, emergency household goods, sexual health screening, harm minimisation supplies such as condoms and foil etc. We will knock on the door, put things on the doorstep and step away to maintain a distance. It’s nice to see people but it’s bittersweet that we can’t hang around to catch up and have the kind of meaningful chats we would like.
Before lockdown I was based at the POW building, but since we had to close the building, I’ve been splitting my time between working at home completing all my management tasks and spending two days a week driving around Nottingham to see people who need us. Time is tight and some days we’re out for hours and hours.
The car is organised. The sun is up and it’s a hot day. This usually makes me smile but my car has no air conditioning so we’re all going to bake today! My tan is coming on nicely at least.
We complete 8 home visits around the City and County – dropping off baby supplies for a young parent, we visit a client who does a self-sexual health swab, drop off 4 food parcels, 1 box of household goods and some bedding to somebody who has none at the moment. After that we go to drop off the sexual health swabs for testing – the client will get their results in 2 weeks time.
After I get home I unload my car into my garage again, trying to organise everything in some kind of system in the space that I have left.
Since this day our building has re-opened, you can now see the floor in my garage and I’m glad people can now come to see us. Opening our drop in again has meant seeing people we haven’t been able to contact for months.