Getting Through the Pandemic Together at Wallacewell
Glasgow City Health and Social Care (HSCP) staff at Wallacewell Children’s House have been going above and beyond since the beginning of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to ensure that all children and young people continue to thrive and feel at home.
Despite the many challenges that the pandemic has brought, the Wallacewell Team went the extra mile to boost morale and create positive experiences for the children and young people in the house. To ensure that life at Wallacewell didn’t get repetitive during lockdown, yet still following Government and Public Health guidelines and restrictions on COVID-19, staff came up with a range of activities and events for everyone to participate in and bring some normality back.
Eileen Scott, Unit Manager at Wallacewell, said: “Our residential workers have been making every effort to go that extra mile for our kids, just as the kids themselves went that extra mile to provide support to each other and to the team in working every day – getting them up in the morning, helping with school work and reading bedtime stories at night to provide safety, security and love. As a team we have all had our own worries and challenges for friends, family and loved ones, and through this it helped provide a mutual understanding of what our children and young people at Wallacewell needed from us during the pandemic.”
Garden Family Time
At the beginning of the pandemic, the team at Wallacewell soon realised that having eight children and young people from different families in the house made it incredibly challenging for them to maintain contact with their families. To facilitate this, the team quickly set up an outside area in the garden to ensure all children and young people could continue to see family and loved ones whilst adhering to Government and Public Health guidelines and restrictions. Going the extra mile, the team even added a barbeque outside as well as organising outdoor activities.
Chicken Run Project
As part of their outdoor activities, Stevie Hart, a Residential Worker in Wallacewell, teamed up with one of the young people in the house to construct and set up a chicken run. It’s expected to be completed soon, and they aim to purchase baby chicks, nurturing them to grow and produce their own Wallacewell eggs. The project has been a great experience in terms of relational practice, life skills and bonding for the children and young people.
Superhero Residential Worker
Lack of social contact during lockdown had been impacting the children and young people, and the team at Wallacewell felt the need to do something extra special to put a smile on their faces. Frankie McConnell, a Residential Worker, decided to arrive at work one day dressed as Iron Man much to the delight of the children and young people. Nowadays Iron Man makes many appearances at Wallacewell symbolising that all residential workers are indeed everyday superheroes.
At Wallacewell, it has become daily practice for staff to bring their pets to work. Susan O’Donnell, Night Residential Worker, frequently brings her pet dog Austin during her shifts, and the children and young people are delighted to have his company as many of them have experienced significant past trauma, which impacts on their ability to sleep and feel safe at night-time.
The night shift team are dedicated to creating a level of supportive practice every night whereby some of the children and young people are supported with bedtime stories and the feeling of safety experienced by having a pet with them during the night when they are asleep.
Mother’s Day Balloons
Mothering Sunday can be a difficult time for the children and young people at Wallacewell. To make the day special, one of the resident young people, dubbed the ‘Balloon Expert’, teamed up with a residential worker to create balloon arrangements for every child and young person in the house who wanted some help to create something nice to give someone for Mother’s Day. The team at Wallacewell also pulled out the stops to make boxes of cakes and afternoon tea goody bags for all the children and young people.
Susan Orr, Head of Children’s Services (Families for Children and Children’s Residential) reflected: “These are great examples of some of the work and activities our residential carers and our young people have been involved in in the past 18 months. It has been a very challenging time but they have proven to us that they’re indeed truly remarkable, and I feel personally privileged to hear about their achievements on a day-to-day basis.”