Gabi, member of our Connect Team, tells us how her workday has changed since lockdown. Every year our Connect team knocks on 20,000 doors, providing information and referrals to specialist advice organisations and services for people in Islington. 

Swapping my commute to work for exercise 

“As I do not have to commute, I now start my day with mindfulness and do my morning exercises at home. It’s a good way to start the day. I am happy that I now have more time to focus on my physical and mental health and wellbeing. 

I have a designated office space with a desk, chair and lamp at home. It helps me separate my work life from home life- which was a challenge at the start of this period. 

Helping Islington residents to think about their wellbeing 

We provide free advice and guidance and referrals to specialist advice organisations and services to Islington residents. 

During the lockdown, we kept in contact with our clients phoning them regularly to check on their wellbeing. The uncertainty was a major worry for many. Lots of organisations had to completely change the way they deliver their services. This added more stress and anxiety for many of our service users. 

We worked really hard as a team as we had to move all of our services to phones and online and had to make sure that we still provide the same quality of services to our clients. We had to get as much information together as possible on the support that was available to people as every organisation had to start to work differently. The lockdown was a very difficult time for everyone. 

Some of our clients were happy to talk about how they were feeling, whilst others didn’t understand the question when I asked them about their wellbeing. This was a great opportunity to highlight the importance of the wellbeing activities like meditation and yoga. I signposted lots of clients to our online Good Neighbours Scheme sessions. 

The challenge of managing wellbeing when residents can’t get online 

Our Good Neighbours Scheme sessions are great for residents who are able to get online, but not everyone can do that. 

Our Good Neighbours Scheme team also set up group phone chats for the local residents to reduce isolation.  

Since the easing of lockdown, our New River Green Good Neighbours Scheme has started outdoor personal training and chair-based exercise sessionsKings Cross Good Neighbours Scheme has also started a social distanced meet up for regular service users who do not have access to online activities.  

Most of our clients tell me they miss the face to face contact. I have a few clients who ring weekly to ask when we will be getting back to the offices. 

As we all work from home at the moment, we were unable to do our usual door knocking around islington. Instead, we are continuing to keep in contact with our existing clients through wellbeing callsWe are also still working hard to reach new clients and several partner organisations have helped us to distribute leaflets to reach vulnerable residents. 

We also set up a Befriending service as a response to Covid-19 and our lovely volunteers have been supporting residents with food deliveries and regular phone calls. This service has been vital for clients. We really appreciate our volunteers as they are doing an incredible job supporting Islington residents. 

Find out more about how we have been supporting Islington residents through COVID19.