3 Apr 2020

'Lockdown' - Week 2 - from a front line Support Worker

We chat to Amy Naylor, another of our Support Workers working on the front line.

Amy Naylor is one of our fantastic Support Workers who are working on the front line to look after the most vulnerable members of the Calderdale community. She has a 5-year-old daughter, Ava, and they were both isolating at home last week. Here’s how the last couple of weeks have been for her.

“I was isolating for week one – Ava started with a cough and I felt rubbish. I felt fine after a couple of days but we isolated within government guidelines. I was still working from home, we’re trying to support clients as much as we can over the phone, but obviously for the first week I wasn’t even able to get out to deliver any food parcels.

I had a client move into her new flat last week and that was really hard for both of us. Normally I’d be there with her moving her in but I haven’t been able to do that, so I’ve had to up telephone contact with her to make sure I’m supporting her as much as I’m able. She stayed in the winter shelter for a few nights until I was able to find her a property and get someone to help her move. I’ve put in an application for Community Living Support for her so she can get a fridge and I managed to get her a bed through Landlord Supplies, but she doesn’t have much else at the moment. I’m really worried about her, she’s isolating due to health concerns and it’s hard enough being trapped in the house, let alone without anything to do.

All of my clients are obviously worried about food and I think with little else to concentrate on, their anxieties are being amplified, like they are for all of us really. It’s a scary time. I’m speaking to all my clients on the phone twice a week and more if necessary. Things that would normally be a small issue are now a bigger deal.

 I have one client I’m particularly concerned about. I supported him before in 2018 and he came back to us at the beginning of this year. He’s a former English teacher in his 60’s and spent a lot of his abroad, but sadly his wife died and he came back to England and eventually became homeless. In 2018 we supported him back into a home and full-time work, but he suffered a stroke in November last year and he’s lost his memory, ability to read and write properly and is now suffering with high levels of anxiety which he never has before. The consultant at the hospital discharged him from their care recently and I had sourced some local community groups for him to start attending but obviously he can’t do that now with the lockdown regulations. Normally I see him every Wednesday morning at home but I can’t do that now and the change in this routine is really affecting him. He’s really struggling. He doesn’t have any family or friends and I’m really worried about how long he can carry on like this. It’s horrible not being able to see him. I text him every morning and we have a chat every day.

A lot of the clients are doing OK they just enjoy the phone contact and to know that I’m still here supporting them.  A lot ask “how are you” and they’re asking after Ava so that’s really nice that they’re looking out for us as well. I worry about all my clients. I worry that one or two of them might accidentally overdose when it’s all over because they can’t get their drugs at the minute. I know people think they shouldn’t be taking drugs at all but there’s a huge psychological impact, obviously it’s not good that they take drugs in the first place but the effect and the aftermath of them not taking drugs is even worse when the proper levels of addiction support aren’t available at the minute.  

I feel really strange and very tired. It’s really hard having Ava at home and I don’t feel as though I’m doing enough. I want to be doing more but it’s difficult and it’s too much of a risk to send Ava to school and there’s no reason for her to be there because I’m working from home. I’m trying to do school work with her but then the phone goes and I have to break off, she gets distracted really easily so she’s off onto the next thing whilst I’m on the phone. It’s really hard and I do get anxious about what’s going to happen".