By Charlotte, Camrose Support Worker
Whilst it is generally accepted that there is no normal day here at Camrose; I thought it may be interesting to catalogue a day to give our supporters an idea of what goes on. Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to be our busiest days owing to the fact that our visiting services such as the hairdresser or GP are here.
So it’s a Tuesday at 9am.
My colleague Jen and I arrive to set up the hall. We’ve got it down to a fine art now! The empty hall within 20 minutes has tables and chairs up, breakfast out and the urn on ready for that first cuppa!
At 9:45am we sit down with our manager Clare and any volunteers who are with us to have a morning briefing. It’s a chance to catch up since the last session and share any information, news or events happening that day.
Come 10am we welcome in our clients. Sometimes we have a queue at the door and other days it’s a slower stream of people. Next commences breakfast with oodles of tea and coffee, toast and cereal. Our clients can have as much of this as they like.
This particular Tuesday the GP from Crown Heights and the Doctor from Inclusions drug and alcohol service are here. Clients are able to have a confidential consultation with them if they wish.
Between 10am – 12:30 when lunch is served is the core time for Jen and I to do any support work.
Firstly Jen spends time with a client who has no electricity. With permission Jen refers her to the Citizens Advice Bureau via their online contact form. This resulted in the client receiving 3 vouchers for £49 each to use on electricity. Secondly; she supports a client to do an e-consultation online for their GP surgery. The client was not confident with reading or writing and hadn’t used the online system. This resulted in the client receiving a call back within 2 days and medication just the day after.
Meanwhile; I completed a new starters form with a new client. They had presented this morning after rough sleeping the night before. This form helps us to get a bit of background to the client and gives them a chance to ask us any questions about the service we provide. The client had support to ring the council and advise that they were homeless. This led to the council assessing him and putting him in touch with outreach services.
After this I rang universal credit with a client to report a FIT note. Again; this client struggles with literacy and the support of another person being alongside him really helps. I also rang up Personal Independence Payments (PIP) to order a form for a client who is rough sleeping. In this instance we used our charity address as a care of address so the client can still claim the benefit. Later they will have support to fill it out.
In-between all of this we have a pie being prepared from scratch in the kitchen, our manager dealing with calls and emails plus our volunteers. They are helping clients with shower kits, clothes, getting food packs and doing what they do best; chatting and listening – inside the building and out the front. Last but not least we also have Corinne from Artwell here. Clients can choose to engage with art activities and talk to Corinne.
Before we know it 12:30 has rolled around and it’s time to serve lunch. Clients enjoy a hot meal every time they are here as well as pudding. We help to serve and clear up when lunch is over. Some of our clients leave after lunch and some stay for a chat. We also have some clients who offer to help clear up which is fantastic!
Come 2pm we say goodbye to our clients until the next session.
Similarly to the morning session, we sit together and discuss the day. It’s a chance for volunteers to offload and for us to record any interventions we have done. We also think about the next upcoming session and what work may need to be done.
This is merely a snapshot of the work that goes on here. It’s not exhaustive and it doesn’t show the breadth of work we do and the amount of joint working that goes on with other support services in the Borough but hopefully it’s been an interesting insight into life at the Camrose!