Staff at Sheffield foundation 'roll with the punches' to continue to provide care in the community

Staff at Sheffield’s Burton Street Foundation have created a video for their clients, to let them know how strongly their absence is being felt.

By Nik Farah
Sunday, 12th April 2020, 11:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 4:07 pm

“We knew that some of our clients would find it very difficult to understand why they couldn’t attend Burton Street, so we needed to try and find new and creative ways to get the message across,” said Sam Torr, marketing coordinator at the foundation.

“The video to accompany ‘Without You’ was one of the first things staff did; it shows the site and session rooms empty and just a few staff cleaning up.

“This was important as some clients believed it was only them not allowed to attend which initially caused some upset.”

Caitlin and Craig, from The Burton Street Foundation, hard at work in the community

The team at Burton Street is also working hard to ensure its service - to adults and children across the city with learning disabilities – continues during lockdown.

Clare Mappin, managing director, said: “I am extremely proud of my dedicated staff team; they never fail to amaze me in the lengths they will go to support our clients, and now to assist with vital efforts to support our community.

“Our strap line is ‘Everyone has a part to play,’ and our staff are proving through their efforts that they are certainly playing their part in coming through the coronavirus outbreak. I couldn’t be more proud.”

When Burton Street was forced to close its doors last month, Clare reveals that staff sprung into action.

Chloe and Val, from The Burton Street Foundation, hard at work in the community

Three days after the centre closed, a new ‘client connect’ telephone support service was up and running, with regular calls being made to the foundation’s 250 clients and their families to make sure everyone was coping.

Clare said: “This service allows us to offer an ear, letting clients know they are at the forefront of their minds, and to provide social support by any means we can.

“The foundation is in final stages of setting up a temporary shopping service for Home Care clients across Sheffield, to help them access essential food supplies, to free their established carers from lengthy queues at shops and supermarkets.

“Our staff has also been re-deployed to assist other health and social care services across Sheffield, helping them to maintain services to their vulnerable clients when staffing numbers are low, and making sure shopping, health and social needs are being met.

Katie and Niall, from The Burton Street Foundation, hard at work in the community

“In addition to this, our staff are finding new and innovative ways to stay connected to our clients, including uploading lots of content to digital platforms, including collaborative videos, songs, poems, buzz words, and messages of love to let the clients know they are still being thought about.

“We have also started sending out activity packs, colouring books, and craft activities, as the feedback we had received suggested clients were getting bored as the lull from the routine change settled in.”

Martin McKervey, a trustee at The Burton Street Foundation, said: “The entire Burton Street family has stepped up at this very difficult time to help and care for the vulnerable and the needy.

“This is a tremendous example of the strength and value of community.

“The management team, staff and carers all deserve huge credit and thanks for their outstanding work, they are all very special people doing special and valuable work.”

Clare added: “During this unprecedented time, we are seeing how well the social care sector is adapting.

“We at Burton Street have felt a real coming together, with bonds between staff, volunteers and clients are getting stronger through absence.

“Experienced staff have been teamed up with newer members of the organisation to go out in to the community and offer support.

“Being thrown in at the deep end hasn’t fazed anyone so far, the team have really pulled together.

“There is a common feeling among the workforce that we are all in this together, relying on one another and truly understanding how much we need our clients, just as much as they need us.

“Whilst supreme efforts will continue in all key sectors, we hope that this global pandemic will highlight the importance of some of the most overlooked workers in this country and the value they bring to each of us.”