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Balancing the job I love with protecting my family

work/life balanceI’m a support worker and I live at home with my mum, my younger brother, his partner and their new born baby. When the COVID-19 stay-at-home lockdown measures were announced but that key workers should continue to go to work, I began to worry. My mum is a severe asthmatic and has other breathing problems putting her in the high risk category.

She received a letter from her doctor asking her to shield and not go to work however, I wanted to carry on working and supporting our service users through this tough time. I decided it would be best if I found different accommodation to move into until things calm down and less people are becoming sick with the COVID-19.

Search for accommodation

One of my Brandon colleagues recommended a Facebook page called, Keyworkers Isolation Accommodation Finder Cornwall. I wrote a post, explaining my situation - that I needed to move away from home in order to keep working in our community, supporting vulnerable people. Visitors to the page gave lots of advice, including recommendations for local hotels.

I set about emailing lots of local hotels and holiday accommodation but unfortunately, some were only accepting people who worked for the NHS. Others, however, were still looking to charge. One hotel quoted £600 for a room, for one week! There were many other quotes but they were asking for more money than I could afford.

Renewed hope

The view of Perranporth bayI was just about to give up when I received a comment from a lady called Caroline, saying that she would like to help me. With my hopes raised, I made contact and she kindly offered to let me stay in her holiday let in Perranporth. The property is a beautiful five bedroom house with a separate annex attached, which has a double bedroom, a kitchen and bathroom.

Caroline was lovely and didn't want me to pay a thing towards my stay in her accommodation! She just wanted to help people who were helping other people during lockdown. I could not have wished for anything more. The location was stunning; looking out over Perranporth and I could see the ocean and beach.

I moved into Caroline's holiday house at the start of April and was able to get back to being a support worker. As it happens, I was asked to work in a new service which urgently needed more staff. I agreed and working closely with my manager, I was happy to help get the service back up to strength.

Reunited with my family

Fortunately, the situation is a lot better now in Cornwall, and I have been able to come home to my family after not seeing them for more than two months. It was a really tough time, being stuck on my own and not having my family and support network around me. My colleagues have been a great support and being in such a lovely house in such an amazing location helped massively. Caroline was incredible. Her generosity meant that I could carry on doing a job I love, supporting people who need me, but without the worry of going home at the end of my shifts and risking my mum's health.

I can't thank Caroline enough for what she did to help. I'm so grateful for the kind and genuine people out there, who understand how important key workers are, not just to the vulnerable people they support, but also to their own families.

Rebecca Silgram
Support Worker

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