Valuing our social care colleagues | wellbeing insight story from Blackwood Homes and Care

Hear how a social care sector provider supported staff wellbeing and, in turn, the people they care for during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The senior management team at a Scottish care home operator, Blackwood Homes, explain further in the insight story below.

Committed carers
During lockdown, we wanted to let our care teams know just how much the Blackwood senior team appreciated their commitment to our customers but also to tell the world about it.

When coronavirus was spreading rapidly, the Blackwood care teams continued to look after customers as a priority. This was done by putting themselves at risk and not knowing what might happen.

As a senior team, we were amazed and knew we had to recognise these efforts.

The early days of the pandemic had a particular emphasis on supporting the NHS. Our Chief Executive, Fanchea Kelly, launched the Twitter #ImInAwe campaign to celebrate the commitment of our teams but also to raise national awareness of the hugely important work of the social care sector.

What we did
We produced a video message from the Chief Executive and regularly tweeted messages of support. Internally, we shared the great stories of how our teams were supporting customers both practically and to keep their spirits up.

We then also sent all our frontline care employees a supermarket voucher worth £90 to demonstrate how much we valued their dedication to the job and keeping our services running to support our vulnerable customers.

Making an impact
The campaign had a huge impact at a national level and attracted the attention to the significant role of social care during the pandemic. We got a lot of support from leaders such as Kevin Stewart Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, Scottish Care, CCPS and Angiolina Foster, NHS 24's Chief Executive.

We were delighted when the Clap for Carers initiative included social care. This was a welcome shift to broaden the political and media interest to the full spectrum of workers that provide care and support across Scotland every day.

Internally, our care teams have told us many times they were grateful for the support and recognition from the senior team. They really valued the gift of the supermarket vouchers as it was a difficult time for many families across the country.

We hope this approach has helped raise the positive profile of the care sector in contrast to some of the difficult stories on how care homes were negatively impacted by the pandemic.

Valuing staff
We've learned that our care teams were, and still are, incredibly versatile and hard working. Our staff often put the welfare of their customers before their own. We are immensely proud of this, but you can't take that for granted. By showing our support with the #ImInAwe campaign, the vouchers and other activities it demonstrated the value we place in our workforce.

To promote health and wellbeing during lockdown we set up a dedicated social media channel and shared lots of tools and techniques to help people manage through these uncertain times.

We shared lots of personal stories on how individuals were coping and embracing the 'new normal'. This has been incredibly powerful.

We also regularly promoted the wide range of services that are available through our formal employee support service – most of which is available digitally. There was an increase in the use of this service.

Going forward, we will continue to support this enhanced approach to promoting health and wellbeing along with our workstreams to maintain our Healthy Working Lives accreditation.

Angela Currie, Operations Director at Blackwood Homes and Care. You can find about more on their website.