Learning from the experience of support workers during COVID-19

In February 2020, Government Cabinet Member Priti Patel, described ‘Care Workers’ as ‘unskilled’. At workshops facilitated by Paradigm during this time, support workers vented their anger, resentment and sense of injustice at this. They felt it gave society a misrepresentation and incorrect understanding of the complexity of the critical role they play in social care.

In response, Paradigm have published a report which draws together the observations and insights of 118 support workers who have been working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paradigm is a development and training organisation with a passion for freeing people to live good ordinary lives, particularly people with a learning disability/autism.

The report is based on comments from 'The Gr8 Support COVID-19 Snapshot' survey which invited support workers from across the country to share their experiences, thoughts, ideas and learning during the pandemic. It includes:

  • how support workers responded during the pandemic with thoughtfulness, creativity and dedication.
  • key messages and 'must haves' for moving forward beyond the pandemic.
  • the plea of support workers to be valued and recognised as essential and highly skilled members of the Social Care workforce, not just now going forward.

In total the number of people working in care and support is estimated to be in the region of 1.5 million. It is the biggest workforce in the UK. The role of a support worker is to support people to live, work and thrive in their community as equal citizens. This includes, where required, being skilled at supporting people with complex disabilities and health conditions.

'Support Workers’ determination has made a huge difference during the pandemic. They embody the spirit of what good support should always look and feel like, working alongside people to have good lives.'

The report ends with a plea: support and grow the good work, the passion and determination that already exists in Social Care. Make this the expectation and experience across the UK for all support workers and their clients.

The full report is available to read here.

You can also view a short narrated version of the report below: