Life on the Bernicia frontline during lockdown

The Covid-19 outbreak has brought a unique set of challenges for our frontline colleagues as they continue to deliver an exceptional service for those who need it most. This week we caught up with Louise Allen, Team Leader Retirement Housing to find out about the work of our Wardens and Supported Housing Officers.

“Today (11 November) is a bit different to my normal working day; I’m Warden for the day at Sleekburn House in Bedlington Station. It’s not long after 11am and the two-minute silence we all took part in here to mark Armistice Day. Very different to previous years, it was socially distanced with people taking part from their own doorways. I announced the start and finish over the intercom and the place fell silent while we all paid our respects.

“We’re just trying to keep things as normal as we can. Our tenants still need the care and support they always did and so that’s our priority. The communal lounges are closed so we’re trying to bring in new activities to keep their spirits up.

“We’ve been hand delivering weekly quizzes and we’re hoping that we’ll soon be able to have more socially based activities available. I’m also looking to see if we can get some sort of entertainment organised, like a singer or a band to visit.

“Health and safety are top priority and we continue to monitor government guidelines. We’re supported by a brilliant team of cleaners who are keeping all the touch points spotlessly clean and sanitized but we also have a proactive role making sure that all the Covid-19 safe practices put in place are followed. That sometimes means we do need to challenge contractors and other visitors who aren’t wearing masks, not using the sanitisers provided or not following the guidelines. It can be tough, but we do it to protect our residents.

“Looking ahead to Christmas, we hope that we’ll be able to create some form of social bubbles to allow people to come together and celebrate, once we know what the new rules look like.

“Our tenants have been brilliant throughout all of this. They’re getting to grips with all the changes while missing their usual routine of visits from family and friends and socialising with other residents. So, while a huge thanks goes out to our colleagues for all their hard work on the frontline, I must also extend that to our wonderful tenants too.”