Latest News from POW...
19th June 2020. A Day In the Life of POW…
A typical day in the life of our Police Liaison and Project Worker, Jess, who works on safeguarding as well as engagement with the LGBTQ+ community.
Another morning in this surreal time. I switch on my laptop and work phone and get some breakfast whilst they load up. I have a desk now, so no more working from my dining room table. Yay!
Today is a busy day; I’ve got the monthly PSN, then contactless outreach drop-offs in the afternoon. The PSN is a multi-agency meeting to ensure street-working clients are being safeguarded and have access to support.
I get together all the last minute notes sent through in preparation for the meeting and make a cup of tea – Yorkshire biscuit brew, if you haven’t tried it, you need to.
It’s 10 o’clock, time for the meeting. I dial through to the phone line, I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust to having meetings via telephone conference, I miss faces. The meeting is productive and runs slightly over schedule.
12:30, and there’s just enough time to grab some lunch and get out of my dressing gown before being picked up at 1:00. I smother myself in SPF 50, it’s a hot day today, not a cloud in sight and 23 degrees. My personal phone rings, it’s my dad, he is notorious for bad timing and seems to only call during working hours since lockdown. (I’ll call him back later)
We have a busy day of drops today; food parcels to be delivered along with condoms and a needle exchange service. We have a couple of people to do self-taken STI kits today which is amazing – as much as I hate lockdown, it has revolusionised the way we work. New drops pop up when we’re out and about, clients are signposted from our colleagues working from home and welfare checks are added to the list.
The STI kits are returned to The Health Shop at the end of the day to be sent off. I’m dropped back home for about 4:30. Just enough time to complete the monitoring from the day.
I receive a last minute email from the police about a client who needs support – this will be picked up first things tomorrow.
I send my check-out email to management and sign off for the day. Until tomorrow…
17th June 2020. Service Updates.
POW are re-opening some services since closing our main building in March due to COVID-19 risks.
From 17th June 2020 we will begun evening outreach sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8pm-10pm.
We have also commenced a social distance drop in on Monday’s and Thursdays from 1pm-3pm. This is aimed at vulnerable clients to come and collect essential items. Our building remains closed to anybody outside of POW staff and the social distance drop in will take place on our drive way with social distancing in place.
5th June 2020. A Day In the Life of POW…
A typical day in the life of our MWAH Project Co-ordinator who works with the migrant sex working community:
I guide myself on this journey by this motivational quote: “DO IT WITH PASSION OR NOT AT ALL”
9:00 AM – Making camp at my dining room table, super strong second coffee of the day, 15 minutes to fire up my old laptop. Before it starts my phone rings, who can it be so early?
“Hi, it’s X, please, please, help! I had a split condom accident this early morning, what can I do?”
No wonder she calling so early when usually my first phone call comes in after 2pm. I phone the pharmacy in her area and signpost her to collect the morning after pill. I later on look into a self-testing kit to be delivered by the outreach team to her doorstep so she could test herself. When the time comes my colleagues will drop the kit on X’s door step and wait in the car until I explain in her own language how she needs to prick her finger, where to drop the blood, how to preserve the samples until they will be handed to the POW team. She’s worried that she might have caught something from that punter. She’s crying. She has got 4 kids.
Phone rings again: “Hi, it’s me Y…. Could you support me with applying for Universal Credit?’’
I am scratching my head thinking of the long hours I will have to wait on the phone to make an appointment, but no, today is my lucky day, they are going to phone her back!
It’s already 2:30, the phone rings again:
“Hi, it’s me Z, I think I am pregnant, can you help? I don’t want to keep it.“
Even though I feel a stab in my heart I pick the phone up and call BPAS for an appointment. I get through very easily, not too many questions and I get an appointment for her. I call her back to let her know and she asks me millions of questions wants me to go with her. But I am not allowed in so will need to support her over the phone emotionally and with interpreting. She doesn’t want a stranger to do interpreting for her and know her secrets.
I still have time to make some well-being checks and look on the advertising platforms for new potential service users.
4:40PM I start my end of the day report and my goals board looks like this:
- 3 goals achieved
- 2 people that I couldn’t support today and I had to signpost them for legal advice
- 2 chats for moral support. One of them asking me to call her mum to tell her she’s fine and she’s got somebody she could trust that speaks her own language. Goal achieved.
Is it a good day or a bad day?
I sit back and reflect, could I be proud of myself? I think I could, and you know why?
Because I am able to see life from a different angle, because I am capable of understanding, respecting and acknowledging people’s choices.
15th May 2020. A Day In the Life of POW…
Hi, I’m Bex , POW’s Crisis Intervention Worker.
I’ve worked at POW for nearly 4 years now, but have had contact with POW for many many years. My role within the team is to try and alleviate immediate crisis. What is a crisis to one of us may not be deemed so by another.
My days are very varied. I’m lucky that with the team supporting my role I can often attend our clients needs quickly and in a practical way. Often spending many hours at housing or medical appointment advocating their rights.
How am I working during the lockdown?
I’m at home self isolating with 2 children aged 4 and 7, and a husband. It is not easy.
My working day starts at 10am, kids are downstairs and I’m locked in my bedroom with phones and a laptop. Start with email catch up.
Whilst on lockdown I’m trying to monitor the most vulnerable and chaotic clients that do not engage with any other service except POW. This is no easy feat, when sitting in a bedroom 20 miles away from Radford.
Most of our clients do not have phones. Those that do are rarely turned on or kept for very long. My work mobile has 100s of numbers which say A1,2,3,4 5 . B1,2. I have no idea who half the numbers I ring belong. I try not to think about that!
I’ve received an email from housing, to say they can accommodate a homeless woman who is currently on the streets.
4 hours later a message is eventually passed to the woman. She texts me a number to contact her on. I pass all the details to her where she needs to present to be housed. Two POW workers will be going out to her to ensure she has basic essentials in accordance with government guidance. 1 person housed about 8 more to go.
Before I switch off my email, another message to say one of our well known clients will be released from custody with no accommodation, can POW help? I email back the probation officer and tell her unfortunately we have no provision for housing, and they need to refer to the local authority….
Tomorrow is a new day.