Here at Path we have always had a culture of supporting each other; and during these times that is even more important than ever!
One thing I noticed when I started working for Path was that we didn’t have a space that was nice to relax in that felt calming, so with the help of one of our volunteers we created the ‘Wellbeing Room’! It is a much loved and well used space created on a budget of about £6, mainly furnished with donated objects from staff members and a couple of plant hangers from Poundland! There are 2 comfy chairs, a bookshelf with books, magazines and DVDs and even a sweetie bowl J The ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the room really brought staff together!
One place we all usually gather in person is at our Path Full staff meetings where we hear from our lovely Director Mike, other colleagues and we often have guest speakers from different organisations. This is a great place to learn and reflect, and of course share around chocolates…or ice lollies in summer!
As we have been unable to meet in person, we have continued with our monthly meetings instead via zoom, the latest one had a quiz from one of our colleagues which had everyone laughing! We have also been using ‘break out rooms’ where people break off for a few minutes into smaller groups to have a catch up, this has been rewarding and a good way to chat to people as quite a few new staff have joined us this year and some people haven’t met face to face!
We usually hold our Christmas meeting at Hamoaze House, and it always includes games, lots of food, secret Santa and a Panto written and starring cast from all the Path services! This year we are of course having to go virtual and are planning how we can have as much fun as possible through our screens! Secret Santa has also gone contactless, with one of our colleagues organising to deliver all of the presents to be opened live at the Christmas meeting; our very own Santa!
Each of our services has also been keeping in touch with each other via Zoom Team Meetings, group and individual supervision and more recently we have started a ‘Coffee Break’ on a Tuesday morning. The Coffee Break was started by the Path managers and stemmed from the idea that we have an open door policy where people could pop in for a chat; but inevitably since March this has been harder to realise.
Soooo… We have definitely made the most of Zoom as a platform for supporting each other since March!!
To help us stay connected one of our managers organised funding for staff laptops for those who didn’t have one. We all also got new phones which are great and fantastic for using zoom and teams on.
Part of the Path culture is to sing loudly and embarrass each other as much as possible on Birthdays… We usually sneak up on the unsuspecting member of staff while they are at their desk, we all pile in and start singing Happy Birthday whilst blowing bubbles at them.
This obviously is not possible so one of our lovely staff has been organising E-cards and we have also arranged online collections for big birthdays and leaving do’s.
At the very beginning of lockdown we started an activity log that included different TV shows/ films people had enjoyed and where to find them, it also included good books, recipes people had been trying, useful apps and activities for children. This made interesting reading when we weren’t allowed out at all and certainly helped keep me going!
And finally my favourite thing to come out of lockdown recently is the PATH yoga sessions!
Due to popularity they are now every weekday via Zoom. We watch an online yoga video and do it together, 15/20 minutes every morning, it has been a wonderful way to start the day particularly with the challenging and busy caseloads we all carry.
Regardless of our circumstance we are still doing everything we can to keep connected to each other and long may it continue!
Alex Burgess- Plymouth Access to Housing- (PATH)