[Skip to Content]
Community, Creativity, and a Pandemic

Community, Creativity, and a Pandemic

Community, Creativity, and a Pandemic

Monday, May 4, 2020

Sarah Hughes, National PTS Manager at Mayday Trust, talks to the Frontline Network about the importance of community and creativity during the COVID-19 outbreak:

I have been working with an incredibly creative lot for five years now. They push the boundaries of what we think of as services working with people going through tough times and re-frame thinking on what ‘support’ looks like. But since the national lockdown, they have had to ramp up the creativity on how they can deliver a person-led, community based approach in the midst of a pandemic.

PTS Coaches broker opportunities. Alongside the people they work with, they seek out bespoke, community based opportunities which build on an individual’s passions and interests. They are not problem solvers but rather community facilitators. So, how do they do this when we can’t physically get into the community? Below are a few ideas that the Coaches have come up with since they have begun delivering the Personal Transitions Service (PTS) whilst socially distancing.  

Playing games

I don’t know about you but since the lockdown started, I have been asked A LOT how I am doing. Last week I played a game of trivial pursuit with a group of friends through skype and it was a welcome relief from Covid-19. PTS Coaches have been doing the same with the people they work with as they look at online games through apps and other devices which allow them to have a break from the doom and gloom! It might even be a text quiz, sending riddles to each other or maybe facetime charades?!

Doing the everyday, virtually

For now, we do have our one walk a day. Some Coaches are having video chats with the people they work with whilst out on their daily exercise. This allows a feeling of escape and some kind of normality as many Coaches usually meet individuals in parks or walking around towns. This gives the conversation another focus as well and allows them to talk about the walks they may do when this is all over. Additionally, Coaches in Scotland have engaged with joint cooking sessions with the people they work with. Sharing recipes and skills between them, the coaches have been able to connect with the people they work with through the medium of food.

Volunteering

One of the people we work with said that they finally feel they have ‘permission’ to volunteer as they feel they want to be part of this shared human experience. It is astonishing that we need a pandemic for people to stop being ‘othered’ but this is an opportunity for people to be part of their community. Coaches have been having conversations with people on how they can volunteer to help us get through this crisis and be part of their community. The tables have been turning as well as individuals have been asking how Coaches are as well. It is understood that this is a human experience and we are all effected in some way and as we support each other, we tackle the power imbalance that exists between services/the public and people who access them. In the end, we are all people!

TV

Some Coaches have been sharing TV programmes with people as they both agree to watch certain programmes then catch up on them next time. This allows them to have a shared experience and also build their relationship with their Coach. It brings a bit of purpose to being stuck inside in front of the TV if you can share it with someone! We have also had a coach organise a ‘Netflix party’ with someone they are working with in order to have some joint TV viewing to discuss.

Letters

There is a real worry at the moment about staying in touch with people who don’t have access to technology. Some Coaches have reported that individuals are not comfortable engaging with the levels of technology that the lock down is now demanding from us. Therefore, they are looking to connect in more simple ways by sending letters or postcards in order to stay in touch with individuals and allow a relationship to continue. These could be just catching up or equally adding games and other interesting elements in order to continue the conversation with individuals.

The PTS Coaches across our partnership, which stretches from Edinburgh to London, are continuing to adapt and learn as they seek out new ways of working without being able to see people face to face.

As building a trusting relationship is an essential element of delivering the PTS, a lack of physical contact is a real challenge. However, creativity and prototyping is at the core of the PTS and this will continue no matter the conditions.

News and Views

  • End Furniture Poverty Survey

    End Furniture Poverty Survey

    End Furniture Poverty have recently spoken with the Frontline Network to discuss their important ongoing survey, seek...
  • Cover the Cost Campaign

    Cover the Cost Campaign

    Jasmine Basran, Senior Policy Officer at Crisis, talks to us about the Cover the Cost Campaign, asking the Government...
  • VRF Impact Report 2018/19

    VRF Impact Report 2018/19

    Over the past year we have given out 3827 grants totaling £1,156,805 through the VRF. Read the latest Impact Report t...
  • Influence from the Frontline

    Influence from the Frontline

    Frontline workers are crucial at giving insight into the viewpoints of the people they work with as well as the chall...
  • The Vagrancy Act

    The Vagrancy Act

    Crisis, along with others including Homeless Link, Cymorth Cymru, Centrepoint, St Mungo’s, Shelter Cymru and the Wall...
  • Influencing local decisions

    Influencing local decisions

    Zoe, Frontline Network Coordinator at Coventry Citizens Advice, talks to us about the Coventry Frontline Network and...
  • The Litigant in Person Network

    The Litigant in Person Network

    Martha de la Roche, Network Development Manager at Litigant in Person Network (LiP Network), tells us about The LiP N...
  • VRF Impact Report

    VRF Impact Report

    Find out what impact VRF had last year and how to get involved in shaping its direction in the coming year.
  • Housing First Scotland

    Housing First Scotland

    Please see here for the first issue of Housing First Connect - a twice-yearly newsletter for Scotland’s new Housing F...
  • Slaying the Dragon

    Slaying the Dragon

    Will Golding, Edinburgh Tutor at Crisis, talks to us about 'Slaying the Dragon'.
  • CPAG - Early Warning System

    CPAG - Early Warning System

    Dan Norris, from CPAG, talks to us about a new Early Warning System to record the impact of benefit changes implement...
  • The Hostile Environment

    The Hostile Environment

    Bethan Lant, a Project lead from Praxis, writes about the creation of a hostile environment for migrants and refugees.
  • Wrexham’s Crisis Cafe

    Wrexham’s Crisis Cafe

    Sinead Kelleher writes about Wrexham's Crisis Cafe, a multi-agency response to Universal Credit.
  • Frontline Worker Survey

    Frontline Worker Survey

    We are asking frontline workers to participate in a survey, aimed at those working with clients who are experiencing...
  • A map through conflict

    A map through conflict

    A Cyrenians Mediator writes about their innovative Amber Mediation and Support Project, a model of mediation and supp...
  •  “A place to call home"

    “A place to call home"

    Hannah Gousy was seconded from Crisis to the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) to help design policy recommendations to...
  • A London Nightshelter

    A London Nightshelter

    On 7 November we opened our church-based shelters for the winter with more churches signed on then ever before. Glass...
  • 'Step Up' at The Connection

    'Step Up' at The Connection

    Wyn Newman introduces the volunteer programme 'Step Up' that has been developed at The Connection for service users.