Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, colleagues from different departments across Coastline have volunteered to help customers living at our Miners Court Extra Care scheme.
From shopping for residents, to welfare checks that have brought so much joy to customers, including escorting them for walks around the gardens.
Here Phil Gilbert (SMARLINE Project Co-ordinator) and Sophie Naysmith (Development Officer) talk about their experience of volunteering at Miners Court.
Phil Gilbert says: "Due to the nature of the Smartline project during the Covid situation I have been more limited in my interactions with customers. The ‘Smartline Message’ is to use technology to improve people’s health and well-being, and I saw an opportunity to best use some of my time to assist Miners Court where the fantastic staff were under increased pressure, not least because of sickness and self-isolation.
Miners Court isn’t always easy, but I find the work very satisfying, just spending some time with residents and chatting about their feelings, hobbies, background etc. I am not really doing much, but I hope it is helping in a small way. I have helped with shopping, distributing groceries, helping residents to get ‘on-line’, accompanying customer to the cashpoint, and on-line banking; but mainly being a listening ear and providing some company."
Sophie Naysmith says: "When lockdown commenced, I knew I wanted to keep busy and do something to help. Due to a lot of staff self-isolating Miners Court were in need of support and I thought it would be a great opportunity to do my bit to help and learn new skills. I had never done any form of care work previously, however my mum was a carer for many years so I wanted to put myself in her shoes. I wanted to use my bubbly character to help make people smile.
I have really enjoyed my experience so far and so grateful for this time to be part of such a brilliant and hardworking team. I thought I would worry about the personal care side of the role, however when you meet someone and realise that they rely on you to help them with normal daily tasks, you put your own feelings aside and just help.
It’s such a good feeling to see someone happy, clean and comfortable because you have been able to assist them. I have met so many lovely, funny and interesting people and have listened to lots of stories, especially those on VE Day when I covered a shift.
Some residents have struggled with being stuck inside and have needed cheering up and company, so I have also been spending time dancing, doing exercises and walks around the Miners Court gardens, which has been good fun and so rewarding to hear a resident smile and laugh."