A day in the worklife of a Community Connector during a Pandemic

I’m waiting for the tram in the surprising September sunshine. The black facemask Breakthrough has supplied is warm. I am travelling to meet a Connectee, who has just gone back to school.

I’ve tried to speak to him before on WhatsApp but he doesn’t say much on camera. I’m hoping once we are face to face, he will talk a  bit more.

Even if he does remain silent it’s easier to use communication techniques when you are with someone in person.

It feels like a luxury to be actually going to a face to face meeting with someone, even though as a Community Connector, that’s what I’m supposed to do every day.

Covid 19 has changed the nature of the job but hopefully soon we can get back to something resembling normality. Although the near empty trams and having to always change at Piccadilly Gardens does take some getting used to.

We are trying to find things for people to do. This is no mean feat given that the voluntary sector has been really badly hit by the epidemic.

Our job depends on charities and community groups that provide local affordable and inclusive activities. It doesn’t look as though many of them are rushing to open again and they are relying  on online services. That’s not always helpful to clients, who are much more likely to be digitally excluded than other people.

How can a person who doesn’t communicate verbally, or read and write, participate in an online forum?  Don’t get me wrong, I know that digital advances have improved life for many disabled people , those who struggle to leave their houses or those who use BSL (British Sign Language) for example.

We’ve always said that digital services should always be provided as well as face to face services – not instead of. Covid 19 has changed all the old rules.  

But for now I am looking forward to meeting up with a new person and going for a walk in a park to get to know them.

My job always feels like a privilege and especially on days like today!