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Georgina Kidd, Independent Advocate at Blackpool Advocacy Hub shares how she has been staying positive

Working from home and not seeing people face to face is a challenge. As an Advocate, this usual face to face contact helps to allow you to form a relationship with people and build the trust up. This is vital when supporting people with their advocacy journey to having their voice heard.

With the current Coronavirus outbreak I am finding it is key to make sure I keep in regular contact with people, keeping them updated as to where I am up to with their case and are available when I have said I will be. Continuity is key.

I feel these things are important and are going to help strengthen the advocacy relationship, supporting people in these uncertain times. I have to ensure that just as if I was seeing the person face to face that I am consistent and do what they ask of me. I need to fulfill my role as an advocate for them, make sure that they are able to talk to me and share what they want and then have me walk their journey with them however they feel they want me too.

If this is be present over video call for the meeting and raise their points for them or just be present in the meeting and as many people say just “be in their corner” so someone is there for them. Supporting people hasn’t changed, we have just had to be creative in the way in which we do it.

How has the Coronavirus Pandemic changed your personal life?

I like to think of myself as a glass half full person and someone who is really positive. So when I thought about working at home during the coronavirus pandemic I thought, that’s ok, ill cope, I’ll get loads of work done, no travelling and extra time to do things. However, we are two weeks into doing things a different way and at the first weekend I feel like I fell at the first hurdle.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m an absolute social butterfly with a busy diary, I love to see friends and family. They will also tell you that I am at my absolute happiest when I am out and about at work helping people face to face. When these two things were not able to happen, I didn’t find it as easy to be my usual happy self. I found myself being tetchy with my wife and not myself at all. This was unfair to her and I was then hard on myself for treating her this way as this is not me and not how I want to be.

I thought about what advice I would give other people, and I felt that I needed to look at this situation a different way. So that is exactly what I have done. I always want to make time to become fitter and healthier, so every morning I am waking up and going for an early morning bike ride. I also have a huge list of jobs in the house that I put off because I am always out socialising and I now have time to do them. I am using this time and seeing it as having a purpose rather than it being something that is causing me stress. By putting a positive spin on the time that I have to social distance away from my loved ones, I have found that this has really helped me.

My advice? Be kind to yourself during this time and do what works for you. I need to have a purpose to social distancing and am setting myself things to focus me. But if this doesn’t work for you, then find what does and what helps you and your groove.

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