Caring Lynette Bloomfield has set up a food delivery support service, to help Silva Homes’ most vulnerable customers stay stocked throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
As Silva’s Aids & Adaptations Administrator (previously Health & Wellbeing Coordinator) Lynette usually organises fun weekly activities and events at the Bracknell-based housing association’s independent living homes.
But when the coronavirus was declared a pandemic Lynette changed her role at Silva, to ensure that the housing association’s vulnerable independent living customers not only have vital supplies brought to their doorsteps – but that they also have someone to talk to.
Lynette worked with her manager to swap roles in mid-March as COVID-19 took a grip of the country, but well before PM Boris Johnson announced a lockdown. It was a swift response to government advice against visits to older residents in the independent living schemes.
Now, working from home, Lynette is busier than ever, running a team of Silva Homes colleagues, who have also volunteered to make sure people in the organisation’s independent living homes do not go without food.
On a daily basis, Lynette calls up residents in self-isolation, as they are most at risk from coronavirus, to check on their well-being and to take shopping orders.
Her team of volunteers then spring into action, picking up shopping and delivering vital items, safe in the knowledge they will not spread the virus thanks to face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser.
They knock on residents’ doors, leave the shopping on the floor and take a step back to ensure they follow social distancing guidelines.
They do not enter customers’ homes and follow government advice closely but still have time and space for a quick chat – which is proving a pick-me-up for Silva Homes customers.
While Lynette may have changed her job role, her team of volunteers need to fit this service around their usual jobs at Silva.
On Wednesday, one volunteer spent three hours doing three shops and deliveries, before going home to carry on working.
All Silva colleagues, other than key frontline workers, are now working from home, following the government’s advice.
Lynette said: “I’m really pleased to be involved with this project as it is an important service and a lovely thing to do.
“I speak to a lot of our vulnerable customers on the phone who are not just scared, but also quite lonely and I know they are having a hard time adjusting.
“This scheme not only gives them their essential shopping, but it also gives them the chance to speak to someone – and a conversation can go a long way!”
Silva colleagues have been working round the clock to support their 14,000 customers across the South East of England and 230 colleagues in the face of the global pandemic.
Dasos Christou, Silva Homes Executive Director (Customer Relations) added: “I’m so proud of Lynette and her volunteers because they epitomise everything that is good about Silva.
“Lynette is adapting to the challenging circumstances and is bringing a lovely human touch to customers who are in self-isolation at our independent living homes.
“She’s catering to their everyday needs and, with her newly created team, they are also putting a smile on people’s faces which is priceless.
“Whilst this may continue for many more weeks, we are confident in our response. We will continue to show leadership and respond together.”
Silva Homes is following Government advice on coronavirus and has taken the following measures:
- Ensuring all lines of communication to Silva offices remain open and accessible
- Using all available communications channels to communicate with residents including establishing a coronavirus webpage for key advice/updates and promoting this and other measures through social media, emails and letters
- Taking steps to ensure emergency repair work and essential services continue
- Protecting residents in independent living and care schemes by closing communal areas, limiting visits and putting in place measures to ensure they continue to receive support, including introducing welfare-check calls and delivering food to customers’ doors
- Protecting staff by introducing new ways of working, including working from home where possible
- Maintaining staff morale and wellbeing through a buddy system – peer support for Silva colleagues who are home-working – as well as organic initiatives such as competitions and ways of socialising amongst colleagues remotely.
Silva Homes is a not-for-profit charitable housing association, which owns and manages the homes of 14,000 customers across the South East.