As a person with my 3 last loved ones in care facilities with either learning disabilities or dementia, it is an extremely difficult time during the covid-19 outbreak not being able to support our relatives or visit them.
I and hundreds of thousands of other people across the UK are reliant upon care and support workers to look after and ensure the safety of our loved ones during this period. Most of us in our lives will use the care system for a loved one, a friend, a family member or ourselves due to disabilities both learning and physical. It could be for ourselves as we get older, for a family member or a friend.
These people like the NHS are putting themselves at risk to ensure the care is delivered and these vulnerable people are kept safe.
However there is are differences, unlike the NHS they are not receiving thousands of donated items and gifts and the care and support roles over the recent years have been devalued in terms of social and salary value, and most of the roles pay minimum or just above minimum wage. Yet these people continue to go to work for this level of pay and put themselves and there families at risk of covid-19 infection. Would you do that for this sort of salary?.
Over the years I have seen the bonds that are created between true care providers and their there clients.
Support staff that care that much about the people they support they do not leave roles, or they leave and come back because they miss them.
Frontline carers that shop for people in their own time when they see things they know the people they are caring for will like.
Staff that stay and sit by bedsides when people are ill or bad weather when other staff cannot get in.
Retired staff who visit because they miss the people they supported.
I have seen laughter and I have seen tears when people pass away.
I have also seen some amazing things over the last few weeks of care/support workers locking themselves in during covid-19 outbreaks to care for residents/clients, extra shifts being worked to support other staff self isolating, shopping for food in their own time on their way to work for residents and special activities being arranged to keep the people actively engaged while they cannot visit their local day services.
Like many, I am having to self-isolate due to existing health conditions, but I want to help. So I have created HELP Albert.
Albert is a ceramic teddy bear I started painting on the first day of the official lockdown. He is the first ceramic I have ever painted and he will come with a certificate that says he is the only one, was painted during the covid-19 2020 lockdown.
I have named him Albert Aneurin Bevan, named after both Prince Albert, who worked to demolish the slums and replace them with affordable housing, and Aneurin Bevan, who created the NHS. I have given him a secret date and time of birth with is all written on his base.
What I am asking for?
A donation to buy thank you gifts for care support workers in exchange for a chance to will Albert by guessing his date and time of birth. He cost £40 in materials and who knows if this campaign is successful he may be worth far more in years to come when this pandemic is nothing but an historical memory.
Who will receive the gifts?
I have 3 care facilities close to my heart who I originally started this for
1. East Bank Road, Sheffield -supported by Dimensions UK - they support my aunt with severe learning difficulties with all aspects of daily living and in total around 20 people with similar needs at this facility.
2. The Fields, Woodhouse, Sheffield - supported by Cygnet UK, they support my sister-in-law with moderate learning disabilities with all aspects of daily living, they also support around 52 people in this facility and normally provide day service activities to hundreds of people across the city of Sheffield.
3. Loxley Court, Sheffield - supported by Towerview care, they care for my 92 year old mother-in-law with severe dementia and around 60 other similar residents.
I would love to raise enough money to buy a gift for every care/support worker in the UK, sadly I don't think that will be possible. So if we raise more then nominations will be accepted from people who donate/services across the UK and they will be randomly picked from a hat until we have provided as much as we can.
What will the gifts be?
The gifts can be anything from a gift certificate, to a box of chocolates to a pamper set, I will work with wholesales suppliers and local businesses to provide discounted bulk gift options that will also help give a little boost to local economies around the services as we come out of the lockdown in time to come.
Who will win Albert?
the winner will be the first person to guess/nearest to the date and time of birth of Albert on 1st July 2020. There are some clues in his story to his date of birth and the time is a random guess.