The Home-Start team have spent the last 5 ½ months working from home. We have embraced the technologies of Microsoft Teams, had regular virtual meetings and become accustomed to a new way of working.
It has not been a time without challenge – getting used to working with each other remotely, finding new ways to support families and responding to the ever-changing guidance and guidelines to keep everyone safe – but we have confidently worked through it.
And, we have had some really positive feedback from the families that we have supported through our online groups and 1-1 online or telephone support from volunteers and staff.
One mum said:
When the Government announced it was safe for people to return to workplaces, providing relevant risk assessments and procedures had taken place to make them COVID safe, that is exactly what we set about doing. Our Health & Safety committee worked hard to ensure that all necessary requirements and adjustments were made, and the office re-opened on the 7th of September.
We have had 3 weeks of enjoying working together again with real people and, although the technology to connect us virtually has been invaluable, (and still very much necessary and in use) there is nothing quite like being together again as a team. Tracy has re-joined us after a period of furlough and Paula, our new administrator, who many of you may have had emails from but not actually met, is now in the office too.
Yesterday (22nd September) saw new Government guidelines being set out, as we see the inevitable escalation of the virus across the UK once more. For now, this will not affect our working arrangements, but we will keep a very close eye on guidance and act accordingly as and when necessary, our priority being to ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers, trustees, families and supporters.
As such, we are trying to limit people visiting the office, (although it is very exciting to see actual people again!). So, if you do need to visit the office, we would ask that you make contact either by phone or email first, so we know when you plan to visit and we can ensure safety for all.
I would like to say a big thank you to the Home-Start team for their commitment, dedication and positivity over the last few months. It has been their tenacity, team spirit and quite a lot of tea that has kept us going, and we intend to continue to work hard to secure necessary funds and find ways to continue supporting families in our local community that need us now, more than ever before.