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Let’s be honest we are all sick and tired of talking about the pandemic and want to get back to the way things were and feel more positive about the future. As we begin to head out of lockdown and get our freedoms back it seems like a good time to reflect on the last challenging and unprecedented year.

At Portland Street we have gone through ups and downs during this period and the team has weathered the storm as best we could in the circumstances. In some ways we have thrived as it has tested our commitment to the young people in our care when other services and supports in the community have been reduced or stopped all together. At the start of the first lockdown in March last year we had to adjust to lockdown restrictions as things changed every day. Although as individuals we had our own personal fears and concerns about keeping ourselves and our families safe, we showed our commitment to the service through our continued attendance. The staff team have been supportive of each other, and regular supervision has provided the opportunity to talk about how we are managing things day to day and receive individual support.

During this last year we have continued to make improvements to the house including getting a new kitchen, fixing the roof, replacing old windows, and getting the front door painted. We currently have a full house and several of the young people are interested in cooking, and we have brought several appliances including a pressure cooker, air fryer and a food processor. The young people appreciate these items and cook independently or with staff. We also recently had the first of three cooking sessions run by fellow colleague Debra after she attended the Jamie Oliver cooking school, and this was very well received. Funding has been provided for young people to keep connected and social work has provided funds for bikes to help with their wellbeing.

We have learned a lot about resilience and mental health (for ourselves and young people) and have got used to communicating on Teams and attending training via Zoom.  We are thankful for the support and encouragement we have received from management, the board and staff working from home during this difficult time.

I feel optimistic about the future of the residential service at Portland Street as we talk about the new replacement building and making plans again that have been on hold for so long. We can definitely see the light at the end of this long tunnel.

Shian Randall

Residential Worker