It’s great to see households across the country standing on their doorsteps clapping and banging whatever comes to hand to applaud the efforts of those on the frontlines in the battle against the coronavirus but most would have been unaware of the amazing work our social carers are doing, writes the National Care Forum (NCF) in its March newsletter.

Writing in the Guardian, Nick Cohen  is more direct. “Millions gather at their windows to applaud the frontline staff fighting the virus… Nowhere are home and residential care staff mentioned.”

Not many people know that social care is bigger than the NHS, with 1.6 million staff and 400,000 beds. Social carers look after our most vulnerable in a variety of care settings and homes across the country. Even though they are key workers, the Care Provider Alliance has had to write a template letter they can adapt for their own circumstances as it is not recognised by some schools, supermarkets and police forces.  “The government says that this evidence should not be necessary, but we know that is not the experience on the ground” says the NCF.  

We know that our carers are heroes.  Every day we thank God for those who work in our housing and homes. During the crisis they are going the extra mile and more to cover others’ absences, and making sure that residents are happy and not stressed now their families are not allowed to visit. One of our Activities Coordinators brought in her iPad and arranged Skype sessions between residents and their families - it was so successful that a resident’s daughter bought her mother her own tablet so she could call her at any time.

Another is compiling individual music playlists for those living with dementia. They have helped residents draw rainbows to put in the windows to thank the NHS, and organised message boards outside the homes so visitors can write a note which they will take to the resident.  One of our Hummingbirds (someone trained in supporting with people living with dementia) spends long hours with them, even wearing her mask and apron which are so warm and uncomfortable.

In our Evington home are two sisters, one with dementia, and when one seemed to be developing Covid-19 symptoms and was isolated separately, a carer made a point of going between the two, exchanging notes. Each morning the Pilgrims’ Friend Society family prays for our carers and the ongoing situation and there are also daily prayers in the housing and homes and volunteers and supporters pray for them in their own homes.

If you are joining in the Thursday evening applause at 8.00 pm, do remember our carers, and all others, who are also on the front line.  Better yet, please pray for them.