CORONAVIRUS: Let's show our appreciation again

Published Thursday, 23rd April 2020

Residents of Hartlepool are again being asked to show their appreciation for the dedication and commitment of a wide range of key workers during the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Clap for Carers event at 8pm this evening is a further opportunity to recognise the many people who continue to play vital roles on a daily basis.

This week, Hartlepool Borough Council is particularly keen to highlight the work of foster carers across the town and staff in its three residential children’s homes.

Councillor Shane Moore, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “There are many people across the town who deserve so much praise for the way they are supporting others during this difficult time, and I would like to thank each and every one of them.

“However, I would particularly like to pay tribute to the tremendous work of foster carers and staff in our residential children’s homes who are playing a vital role in looking after some of our most vulnerable young people.”

While every parent is undoubtedly finding it difficult to keep their children and teenagers indoors and safe during lock down – the current situation brings added challenges for those caring for children who are looked after by the local authority.

Alan Welsh, a Children’s Manager at one of the homes, said: “I have got to say that all the young people and the staff have been absolutely fantastic throughout this lockdown period and before.

“Covid-19 has caused a lot of issues. There has been a cessation of hobbies, young people haven’t been able to see their friends, and they can’t do their rugby, for example. These voids have had to be filled and staff have really stepped up.”

He added that staff were giving up days off and holidays.

Sylvia Lowe, Manager of a children’s home looking after children with additional needs, added: “Due to Covid-19 we have split our team into 4 mini teams of 6 staff and a manager/shift lead. This ensures that we minimise the risk of the virus infecting our full team which would have significant impact on our ability to provide a full service. Staff have been fantastic and have adapted remarkably well to the new way of working.

“Keeping our children safe but stimulated can also be a challenge. In our service we pride ourselves on our community participation and giving our children a wide range of life experiences. How we deliver our service has had to change dramatically, as we are no longer allowed to access the community. This can be confusing and difficult for our children to understand and we are constantly looking for ideas and resources to help our children during this challenging time. The staff are proving to be fantastic at accessing and finding these resources for our young people.”

Andy and Lisa who have been foster carers for 10 years and currently look after two children aged 7 and 10, say Covid-19 is throwing up a number of challenges.

However, they say that a range of fun activities is helping to relieve the boredom of the lockdown, while Hartlepool Borough Council social workers and the children’s school are providing invaluable support to them.