“Where was the support?”: Q and A with a social care manager about her experience of the pandemic
Clare Phillips talks about her role helping the People's Covid Inquiry and managing the pandemic at Learning Disability Network
“I miss The Greenwood Centre”, Estelle, one of our service users, says.
Estelle used to visit the activity centre in Kentish Town regularly, but hasn’t been able to go due to the pandemic.
She used to enjoy doing karaoke there, singing along to her favourite musicians Mariah Carey and Bryan Ferry.
To encourage Estelle to continue being active, without the Centre or the ability to watch her beloved Arsenal Football Club, Angela, her key worker, signed her up to a local swimming pool.
Estelle says she still wants to go back to The Greenwood Centre. “I miss all my friends.” But swimming has given her something positive to focus on.
Caroline and Nina are two friends who live together. Caroline got a keyboard during the pandemic, which Nina often plays, while Caroline dances along.
Recently, it was Caroline’s birthday and before the day Nina would talk sometimes about needing to practise and sit in front of the piano trying out chords, says team member Francesca.
One day a team member went in to the room and found that she’d taught herself ‘Happy Birthday’ on the piano. Nina has a severe visual impairment and learning disabilities, but she learned the song by figuring out the chords and from her memory.
It was a great present for Caroline, the team said.
As well as Happy Birthday, Nina enjoys the music of Beethoven and Bob Dylan, having played the piano since she was young, she says.
Michaela works for Photosymbols, where she helps to create easy read documents for people with learning disabilities.
She used to act as a secretary at the Camden People First office, answering the phone and taking messages.
During the pandemic, Michaela (pictured above right) received a tablet device to work remotely for Photosymbols. She enjoys checking her emails and having the freedom and choice to work from home, according to assistant team manager Francesca.
Michaela also now has a voice-controlled Google speaker and is learning how to use it.