Now, more than ever our core focus is providing the best support we can to our GEM participants. Samantha Mullaney, Navigator Developer at the Brandon Trust shares some of the activities she has been doing to ensure her participants feel supported during this uncertain time and even keep on track with their GEM goals.
Now, more than ever our core focus is providing the best support we can to our GEM participants.
Samantha Mullaney, Navigator Developer at the Brandon Trust shares some of the activities she has been doing to ensure her participants feel supported during this uncertain time and even keep on track with their GEM goals.
"As a Navigator Developer on the GEM Project, this was always going to be a testing and difficult time to carry on working with our participants.
Not being able to support my participants with face to face meetings has caused me to think outside of the box!
To begin, I made sure that most, if not all of my GEM’s had access to some form of video calling to help keep in touch.
I then made a list of which of my participants were particularly vulnerable with their mental health, living alone or had other complex needs. These participants were my main priority to keep the channels of communication well and truly open. I also created daily routines for those that need structure around their spectrum barriers.
I’ve enrolled most of my participants onto some online learning, keeping this relevant to their GEM education or employment goal. I’ve been helping a young adult who is doing his functional skills, so we video call twice a day so I can support him with the terminology as he is from another country, an hour for maths and an hour for English.
Some of my participants may struggle with some of the course contents and terminology, so we book video calls daily and I go through the course with them explaining anything they are struggling with. On occasions, my participants can lack focus and motivation so I also book video calling slots to support them whilst they are learning, being on hand to encourage them when needed.
A handful of my participants struggle with social anxiety; since supporting them on the GEM Project, we had worked really hard on being out in the community to help build confidence, but with the latest government restrictions this is led to them not going out at all even for their one daily exercise. Therefore, with the use of video calling I am joining a young lady on a short walk, keeping close to our own houses chatting to each other about our different surroundings. This is proving a huge success, it’s giving her fresh air and a sense of reassurance knowing she still has company albeit in a slightly different format.
I also feel this whole experience is improving their communication skills and keeping a sense of time.
These calls are a time to provide them with some social interaction, just chatting about day to day things and providing them with some much-needed reassurance that we can still progress on their GEM journey. We can still hit our goals but just in a different way and in a slightly different time frame and that we need to continue to be positive and just adapt our plans when needed."