Vale of Glamorgan Council worker swaps project management for social care to help battle Coronavirus
Vale of Glamorgan Council project manager Matt Curtis has swapped strategic planning for social care after answering the call to support frontline services during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Matt previously formed part of the Council’s 21st Century School’s team, focusing on efforts to upgrade educational facilities across the Vale.
But when the Covid-19 crisis hit, he volunteered for redeployment and is now working in a care home, helping some of our communities’ most vulnerable residents.
“One evening, I was working at home and I saw on our internal web pages that we were looking for volunteers to be redeployed to key areas. I thought I would be able to reprioritise my work to free up some time so I filled in a form straight away,” said Matt.
“The major reason for me was that I’m relatively young and I don’t come into contact with people who are shielding or are vulnerable adults. I felt it was important that I put myself forward for these important service areas knowing that they would be struggling at this time.
“I said I would go anywhere really and the first call I got was from social services saying we are looking to train some people up to be redeployed and would I be interested in having a look at what they had on offer?
“Within a few days I was on a course learning about operating all the equipment they use in social services. They gave me a call asking if I’d be interested in any of the roles and I said ‘absolutely’. It was either going out to residents’ homes to support them or working at one of the four residential care homes we have in the Vale.
“I decided I would support one of the residential care homes and it ended up being Ty Dewi Sant in Penarth. I give out medication to the residents and order medication so we can make sure we have enough during this time. I’ve also helped develop contingency plans and understand the risk associated with the coronavirus.”
Matt is one of a number of Council staff that have chosen to switch roles to help with the response to Covid-19.
Some have moved to join the Crisis Support Team, set-up to protect the Vale’s most at-risk residents. Others might be working with waste crews to ensure essential services can still be delivered or helping to produce Personal Protective Equipment.
The Council recently launched its Rainbow Heroes campaign to recognise those performing such crucial roles at this challenging time.
A series of specially-designed signs are to be placed in prominent locations throughout the Vale, giving special thanks to the groups going above and beyond during this unprecedented period.
They will also receive a 10 per cent pay uplift in appreciation of those efforts.
“All the staff that work in the care homes, whether they be carers, in the kitchens or domestic carers, they’re all absolutely amazing at their job. They get on with the residents so well,” added Matt.
“I’ve spoken to the residents a lot over the last couple of weeks and got to know them quite well. They have nothing but good things to say about the care home staff and the care they are being provided. It is incredibly rewarding.
“I was most apprehensive about going into that environment, not knowing what I was doing and getting in the way. I didn’t want the staff to see me as something else they had to deal with at a difficult time.
“But everyone in the homes is going through a huge change at the moment, they’re all getting used to this new environment and delivering the care in different circumstances. That’s meant we can all help each other.”