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Day centre officers join residential care staff

STAFF who usually work at Swansea Council’s Birchgrove Day Centre have temporarily swapped jobs to help provide care at a council residential home.

The team who normally support adults with learning disabilities are now working at The Hollies in Pontarddulais which looks after vulnerable adults including those with dementia.

Like many council staff they have been redeployed to focus on critical services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Day Centre Manager Lorraine Howells said she could not speak highly enough of the way the team, that includes Steve Jenkins, Rob New (pictured), Diane Piontecki and Lisa Roberts has adapted and risen to the challenge.

She said: “We are a close knit team and of course there were some nerves to start with but we have received a warm welcome and support from the staff at The Hollies

“It has been a big change but I could not be prouder of the way they have responded – going from working days to working evening and night shifts and even cancelling leave.

“We really miss all our clients at the day centre and hope we will see them all again soon but in the meantime they are putting their caring experience to important use and learning new skills.”

Day support worker Steve said: “It has been a bit stressful at times but thanks to the help and support of the staff at the Hollies it is working out ok.

“It’s a lot different – I found working evenings strange at first but I’m getting there.”

Rob added: “I’ve been working in learning disabilities for 25 years but never worked in elderly services and it is a different challenge but it is rewarding working with the elderly, trying to improve their lives as we do working in learning disabilities.”

Councillor Mark Child, Swansea Council Cabinet Member for Care, Health and Ageing Well, said: “I have nothing but admiration for all our care staff in Swansea who do a demanding job in normal circumstances, let alone now during this dreadful pandemic. They are changing what work they do, where they work, their hours of work, who they work with all to meet the needs of Swansea residents and keep them safe.

“I’d like to thank the team at Birchgrove for really going that extra mile to provide care where it most needed at this time and the staff who work in all care homes whether they are run by the council or in the private sector.

“Every Thursday evening when people clap for carers and frontline workers I hope they realise that applause and gratitude is for them.”

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