Andrea Prout is the Co-Ordinator for Pemberton Place, Saint Francis Hospice’s day hospice in Essex. Here she tells us how her job changed dramatically with the arrival of Covid-19.
As a British Army veteran and retired police officer, I should really have known better than to ‘volunteer’ but it’s not in my nature to shy away from any situation. As I uttered the words “If there is anything you think I can do just ask,” my list of ‘any things’ grew more and varied as the pandemic took hold.
My role as Pemberton Place coordinator radically changed. I started out looking after the wonderful space that it is. Its ability to host a variety of groups, sessions, one-to-one meetings and specialist clinics changed overnight and immediately seemed to shrink from a busy vibrant space to a very quiet place indeed. My team was redeployed, with all but two of our volunteers shielding. Other teams using the space have done pretty much the same, although we continue to pursue ways to stay connected to those who attended our programme of services or clinics with regular calls and sending out activity packs.
I found myself managing logistics, ensuring my colleagues have the correct PPE to continue delivering the standards of care we strive for. Coordinating deliveries, organising storage and managing the incredible amount of donations from our local and wider communities is, on some days, overwhelming and humbling in equal measure.
Another task I was challenged with was to create some video for our contribution to the media coverage of Clap for Carers. This venture went from a static film of our staff clapping, to writing and recording lyrics for the staff to sing, videoing short clips and then stitching them together for Thursday nights at 8pm.
Ensuring everyone has what they need has given me insight into a whole different world. I’m probably known across much of the hospice site but my profile has reached new heights as people regularly now approach me with questions like, “Andrea, I don’t suppose you can get me xxx?” or “Where would I get another one of these?” I can now tell you the different properties of one surgical mask over another and find that ‘thingamabob’ easily in the store. No two days are alike and I often reach 10,000 steps before leaving work!
For more information visit Saint Francis Hospice