I write this summary of the report at a time of unprecedented national emergency across the World. The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the population and affected our day to day lives beyond recognition. Since mid-March our Social Care world looks and feels very different, although I am proud to advise that to date we are pretty much business as usual, and where we have had to make adjustments, we hope that this has not had too severe an impact on our staff and service users.
Reflecting back on the activity throughout 2019/20 has been a rewarding experience at such a difficult time for the nation. Many of our milestones and achievements feel like more than twelve months ago but I will still make reference to some of the highlights.
There have been significant developments in our work operationally with the Health Board, particularly in Older Peoples services, utilising the Welsh Government Social Care and Health transformation fund to promote further integration and consider joint management models. We have tested some of this with staff and intend to explore the benefits from a citizen perspective too.
Another focus of the year has included a range of supportive accommodation developments that have been in our planning approach as a service for some years. We have schemes for Children’s Services, Disability and Older People and hope to see these develop further during 2021.
An area of service that is in particular facing real challenging working conditions during the pandemic are our community support workers, who deliver care in people’s homes and are both employed by Conwy and commissioned via businesses. They are a crucial and determined workforce who, despite many barriers and difficulties over the years, such as snow, floods and now the pandemic, have continued to ensure a continuity of care that is hugely impressive. We reference their great work in the report and share some lovely feedback that we have received from citizens. A heartfelt thanks is owed to this group of staff as they continue to deliver care to our most vulnerable in the county.
We continue to support our promotion of the citizen voice, and were delighted to see the election of three of our Conwy Youth Council representatives on the Welsh Youth Parliament last year. We have also celebrated the opening of our first iCan community hub in the county which has been developed by citizens and those with lived experiences of mental health. In order to keep ourselves really focused on the experiences of people who use our services we have commissioned the popular Dementia Bus for staff, family members and carers who have experienced Dementia in their lives. I personally attended a session and it has altered my view and mind set beyond any other training I have attended, the experience really immerses the participant into a snapshot of a dementia sufferer’s life.
There are many more highlights that I haven’t mentioned and hopefully you can take some time to read the content of the report. So it remains for me to thank the fantastic team we have in Conwy and thanks to all the providers of services we work with in the third and independent sector. No doubt next year’s report will be reflecting back on this time and how we have recovered and returned to some level of normality.
Thank you all and stay safe.
Strategic Director of Social Care & Education Services
Conwy County Borough Council