Being a Social Work student is something that for the past 2 years I have really enjoyed. As I am in my second year of study this is where I was due to complete a 70-day placement at Savera UK. Savera UK is a charity that works with people at risk from ‘honour’-based abuse and was something that I was really looking forward to completing.
On my first day I was nervous however the whole team at Savera are lovely and made me feel like part of the team straight away. In fact, before the Coronavirus had come to light, I had dealt with a whole range of issues such as accompanying my clients on appointments including court hearings or mental health evaluations. I had also taken part in numerous strategy meetings and MARACs. However, my favourite part of the week had to be the weekly Savera UK drop-in session. This is where all the ladies come together to interact with each other. We made sure each week that the ladies had different things to do such as cake decorating, quizzes and knitting to name a few.
Then following on from Boris’ speech, Savera was forced to shut to help with social distancing and to slow the spread of the virus. So, as a student support worker I now had to support my clients from home. I am not going to lie that working from home has been the biggest challenge I have had to face during my placement. I live in a small house and have a 9-year-old son, so in between home schooling him I also must also support my clients. At first it was hard to try and get into a routine and I felt that I may not be able to carry on. However, after mastering the Zoom app and Skype I feel that I am doing well. People who have small children will know how demanding that they can be. So being house bound apart from maybe going for some fresh air or shopping has been a mixture of strange, stressful and nice all at the same time.
The team at Savera have given me great support during this time and I feel that on some days they must have been tired of my constant phone calls and emails, although they never say. I miss being in the office and being able to keep my family life and placement separate. I also miss interacting with the team face to face. However, I understand that for the time being this is the way it must be.
I feel that once I got into a routine and settled into working from home, the support my clients have received has been of the same standard as if I was in the office. This is of course just telephone support, however I feel that my clients enjoy the continued support. I have also been able to take part in strategy meetings and have even spoken about one of my clients at a MARAC. This has all gone hand in hand with daily catch up with the team as well as liaising with social services and other professional organisations.
I am really pleased and proud to be a part of the Savera UK team especially during this pandemic. The Coronavirus clearly won’t stop us from supporting our clients in the best way possible.
Written by Emma Hannigan, Savera UK placement student