The last two years have been tough. Tough for everyone in the country but especially for Health and Social Care organisations, their staff and families. At various times I have wanted to shout from the rooftops about just how well we had coped and managed as an organisation but at the same time wary of two things; pride comes before a fall and secondly, whatever we thought we knew about Coronavirus yesterday has already changed by today.

We would not have managed as well as we have during the pandemic if it were not for the proactive support of our statutory funders, partners and colleagues – Rugby Borough Council, our Health colleagues and Warwickshire County Council have all been and continue to be excellent, putting other areas of the country in the shade. Our local Safer Neighbourhood Team within Warwickshire Police have also been amazing, supporting those we support to understand the lockdown restrictions and our supporters have been vital in enabling us to do so much more in such trying times – Businesses such as Asda, TK Maxx and H&M – Families of those we support have raised funds that have helped our specific services – even building a visiting pod at the height of the pandemic so that families could visit safely.

My point is that none of what we have accomplished over the past two years has been done without the support of others, our partnerships make us stronger and more resilient but above all it is our staff – our dedicated, incredible and wonderful superheroes that must be celebrated.

We support over 100 vulnerable people who have a learning disability or complex needs including autism and mental health issues every single day to live as independently as possible and live their life here in the wonderful town of Rugby. Our track record in helping to protect all of the people we support whilst in our services is an incredible achievement and a testament to the strict and effective infection control measures we have in place.

At the end of last year I had an email from a senior Public Health colleague sharing her relief that, yet again, we had contained a positive staff member result through effective self isolation and congratulating us on our incredible record to date. In her email she asked whether there was anything in particular we could share as best practice with other providers? Surely we are doing something different?

It led me to reflect on whether we are doing anything different from any other social care provider and I can’t honestly say that we are – we are following the same advice and guidelines, implementing the same infection control measures. We have gone above and beyond, our managers and deputy managers made key decisions early at the beginning of the pandemic and we have very strong infection control measures in place, in fact we scored 99% on our last infection control audit, and received another ‘Good’ rating across the board for our Vicarage Road Care Home from CQC in December. None of this is unique to us as a social care provider, so perhaps the answer is not just in ‘what’ we are doing and is also within ‘who’ we are.

I am genuinely convinced that there is something unique about our organisation and it is the staff and the culture that we have here that make the crucial difference, the ‘New Directions Difference’. Our staff are incredible. Nothing I can say or do will get across to you how it feels to work in an organisation such as this. One of our staff who has worked for the organisation for over 15 years put it best when they said:

“ Isn’t this organisation amazing!

I feel so blessed to be with this company.

It is so rewarding.

I know I’m contributing to something really worthwhile”

Our staff are the beating heart of this organisation, they have had their own trials and tribulations within their own families as we have all dealt with whatever this global pandemic has thrown at us and the emotional turmoil that has created. They have left that at the door each day, donned their PPE and carried out their infection control measures bringing love, light and joy into work so that everyone we support can live their lives to the fullest.

As we prepare to turn a significant corner over the next few months, my remaining hope is that the Government and national rhetoric that has been so strong and intent on finally recognising the value of social care and the importance of well paid and dedicated staff does not become a distant memory in the same way that clapping on the doorstep did.

Paul – CEO

So, dear reader, what can you do? Well there are a number of ways you can help;

Join Us! – if you have often wondered about a role in a social care organisation we have varied posts available from care workers to support workers – see our latest vacancies here

Follow Us – Whether on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, simply by dropping in on our webpage from time to time or even by picking up the phone – we’re here and we’d love to hear from you.

Celebrate Us – help us tell as many people as possible about how wonderful our staff are and simply share this post.

Help Us – If you have or know of someone who has skills and resources that you think could help then let us know – our fundraising page on our website has recently been updated and can be accessed here.

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