Making Space Team Leader has Zoom call with Prince William

May 2020

One of our Team Leaders has spoken to Prince William about his team's experiences in supporting vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saj

Saj Daji, who is a team leader across three of our Yorkshire services, was one of five support workers invited to join a Zoom call with the Duke of Cambridge last week.

Prince William wanted to hear - from frontline workers themselves - whether their experience of working in social care had altered during the pandemic, and how they were looking after their own mental health and well-being in the process.

Saj, a social research graduate with 20 years worth of experience in social care, manages seven workers across three local support services: Kirklees Floating Support, Kirklees Supported Housing and Leeds Supported Housing.

He told the Duke that flexibility was key to keeping support services running, whilst also protecting his team, one of whom is shielding.

Speaking to him about his experience of looking after his workers during the crisis, he said: “It's very important for my staff team that they don't feel isolated, so as a team we support each other, with WhatsApp messages and texts. We have lunch together on Skype and try to keep each other going.

"I tell them we have to protect ourselves and look after ourselves, because if we're not well, we can't look after someone else".

In addition to the regular help they offer, Saj's team has also been making referrals for food parcel drop offs and teaching the people they support how to shop online and use technology to keep in touch with their loved ones.

As one of 10 members of the Kirklees Better Outcomes Partnership (KBOP), they have also been helping to respond to an increased number of calls made to the partnership's Emergency Advice, Support and Guidance Helpline.

Saj 2

Saj said the video call with the Duke lasted for almost an hour. Ending the call, Prince William said thank you to care workers for the “fantastic job” they were doing.

“It’s hugely appreciated and acknowledged. I hope we see a shift in attitudes towards the care sector and an appreciation for all the wonderful things you all do.”

The call was set up by the Care Workers' Charity, which was founded in 2009 to support current and former care workers with one-off crisis grants and advice. The charity has set up a coronavirus care workers emergency fund to provide financial aid to care workers who are self-isolating.

Karolina Gerlich, Executive Director, Care Workers' Charity, said: “The call was a fantastic opportunity to shine a light on the amazing work of care workers and we really appreciate Saj’s input on how supported living schemes are coping with the current situation.

"Prince William took time to find out what it was like working in care, hear some of the challenges and recognise the important job our care workers do.”

Rachel Peacock, CEO, Making Space, said: "We were very proud to have Saj represent our organisation to Prince William. That he talked about looking after his team is testament to his caring and empathic working style."

You can call the Kirklees Better Outcome Partnership on 07562252940 from 8am-8pm seven days a week, for support on issues including benefits, housing, food provision and accessing medication.



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