I'm Meg and I am a Family Support Worker for Rainbow Trust’s Liverpool team. I have been a Family Support Worker for a year having previously worked in education for fourteen years.
I started the week with a meeting at a school for a family I support. The child is moving to high school, and I went into the school to introduce myself and tell them a little bit about the support I offer the family. The support I give the family is sibling support which is given in school and allows the child some time to speak to someone about their feelings. During term time I visit the child in school, and she comes out of class to allow time for a private discussion about whatever she needs to speak about that week. This also gives her time to play games and have a chat.
In the afternoon I visited a child in school. I visit the child once a week for an hour each week and we play games, do crafts, and talk about how they are feeling. The family have lots of professionals coming in and out to see the sick child and the sibling sometimes feels isolated and as if they don’t have someone to talk to. The support Rainbow Trust provides gives the sibling someone for her to talk through any worries or concerns she may have. Once I had left the visit I got in the car and drove to my next visit. I had half an hour before my next visit, so I did my admin in the car, writing up the notes from my visit and replying to messages I had had from any of my other families.
Finally for Monday I had an afterschool visit with two siblings, and I took them to the park for 2 hours. This allowed Mum to have some time to herself while the sick child was with her carer. The siblings really enjoy going to the park but unfortunately the park near them is not wheelchair friendly meaning they are unable to go as a family. Once I left the visit I drove home and completed my notes from my visit and responded to any emails I had had that day before finishing for the day.
In the morning we had a team meeting online. During team meeting we discuss how our weeks are going and everybody discusses any successes and challenges we have faced. We share ideas and any activities we had done that may be of use to other families we support. After the team meeting, I then had a meeting with the committee organising the staff conference of which I am part of and we discussed what we needed to do and spoke about the day’s agenda. The Staff Conference is a chance for staff from all the care teams and head office to get together and reflect on the year and look forward to the year ahead. As I am relatively new to Rainbow Trust it has been interesting being on the conference committee as I have not been to one of their conferences before.
In the afternoon I was meant to have a visit with a parent however the visit got cancelled due to a sibling having a sickness bug. As some of the children we work with have a really low immune system it means we are unable to visit families if there is a sickness bug in the house as we can not risk passing this on to any of the other families we work with. The visit arranged was to provide parental support to allow Mum some time to talk. Sometimes these visits consist of Mum talking about any worries she has and sometimes we just chat and have a brew.
On Wednesday morning I was working from home, and I spent the morning emailing information about Rainbow Trust to different organisations within the Merseyside area. As we are a new team, we are still trying to raise awareness of Rainbow Trust in the area and build up connections so we can reach more families who need our support.
In the afternoon I was due to have a joint visit with Young Lives vs Cancer. however, the visit was rearranged so I spent the afternoon catching up with my admin making sure I had put all my notes on the system.
The admin we complete varies. After every visit we write up our notes from that visit to evidence what we have done. We may also have follow up tasks, for example if we are helping a family apply for a grant we may need to find the correct forms and help to fill these out and send them off. Sometimes we are asked to help find support groups for families or we may have meetings with other professionals working with the family to update on the support we provide to make sure no one is duplicating any support and that we are all doing everything we can to support the family.
On Thursday I had another after school visit. I confirmed the visit with Mum in the morning and I picked the child up from school. We were due to go to the park, but it was raining so we decided to go to a soft play centre instead. The visit was 2 hours and while I had the sibling it allowed Mum to spend some one-to-one time with the sick child and gave Dad a couple of hours undisturbed time to work as Dad works from home. While at the soft play we had a drink and a cake, and the sibling was able to enjoy an hour and a half of uninterrupted playing time!
On the way back to the home we talked about how the child was feeling about moving into her next class at school and what she was going to miss about her current class. We also chatted about how she felt about having her brother back home after being in hospital for a year which she said was good.
On Friday morning I had a visit with a family at Alder Hey hospital. The child is currently undergoing Chemotherapy and so the child and Mum are inpatients at the hospital for up to 3 weeks at a time. When I arrived, I made sure to wash my hands and put a mask on. The child was playing games on his bed and Mum was sat on the sofa. I offered to stay with the child to give Mum some time to go for a walk. Mum popped downstairs for a few minutes and then when she came back, we had a chat. Mum told me about what the doctors had said and then we discussed the siblings who were staying at home with dad while Mum and the sick child were at the hospital. The visit was for 2 hours, and it just gave Mum a bit of a break as well as some adult company. After the visit I drove home where I completed my notes for the visit and completed other admin jobs I had for the week.
This has been a good week. All of my families were very grateful for the support I was able to give them and knowing that you have helped a family in some way is the best bit about the job for me! With this job every day is different, and no two visits are the same. This job is such a special job, and you go home every day knowing that you have made a difference. It is such a special feeling working with families as they are going through the unimaginable and knowing that you can help in some small way is amazing.