I was on annual leave last week and happened to miss all of the snow that hit various parts of the UK, but this week I’ve heard a number of stories regarding the effort support staff across CMG made to get into work despite the adverse conditions. I wanted to highlight some of these as we always appreciate the dedication many of our front line staff show when the weather takes a turn and isn’t on our side.
At Telegraph Road in Southampton, the Deputy Manager and Lead Support Worker both stayed at the service for three days, sleeping over for two nights, as other members of staff were unable to get in and they were unable to travel back home. Beulah Crescent in Thornton Heath experienced a similar scenario to Telegraph Road, and at Hillview in Merstham, staff willing swapped shifts to accommodate those who couldn’t reach the service and ensured good staffing levels were maintained. At 29 Bushey Hall Road, meanwhile, one member of staff managed to travel from East London to Hertfordshire, where the service is located, to get to work in spite of multiple train cancellations and a treacherous walk.
Wales was one part of the country that was particularly badly hit last week, with up to 30-40cm’s of snow in some places. Yet this didn’t stop several of our support staff from making the journey into work and Claire Pritchard, our Operations Director for Wales, has designed and given out certificates of appreciation to those who coped and handled the situation. Ty Gorsaf and Cwrt-Y-Bella were two of our most severely affected Welsh services and were cut off from the local community for almost a week.
At The Ridgeway in Essex, staff made an extra effort to ensure that the people they support didn’t get bored, bringing in games, foot spas, face masks and more. Whilst their service manager was unable to get access to the service, the staff rallied around to make sure that every shift was covered and service users did not become distressed by the change to their routine. During the four days that they were snowed in and unable to leave the house, no medication was administered for challenging behaviour and staff supported anxieties well.
We also saw some incredible dedication from our agency staff with one individual who works at Park Avenue and Clandon Close sleeping on the floor of one of the services so that they wouldn’t miss their shift the next day. Thanks to their commitment, and the strong relationship that has been built between the agency and the services, both Park Avenue and Clandon Close were able to run at their normal staff ratio.
These are just a few examples of the effort that has been made by staff at CMG services across the country. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the lengths some have gone to to guarantee that they were able to work their planned shifts. For some of the people we support, sudden change to their routine or being supported by someone who isn’t their usual key worker can cause a great amount of distress and anxiety. In many cases we were able to avoid this due to the perseverance of our excellent staff teams.
Below are just a few of the photos we have been sent of staff and service users enjoying the snow.