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Pandemic Perspectives – Being a Residential Child Care Worker

Over the last 18 months, our Residential Child Care Workers have been working hard to continue to provide the highest quality of care to our children and young people, despite the varying circumstances.

In this blog post, Emma Mahon, Deputy Manager at Fountain House, shares her experience of working in a children’s home throughout the pandemic, sharing the journey she went on at Fountain House.


Like everybody, COVID-19 hugely impacted our children and young people at Fountain House. Before the pandemic, they were used to going out and taking part in lots of different fun activities, attending clubs, and making and keeping some great friendships outside of the home. They were also used to visiting their family members regularly.

Whilst the adults at Fountain House learnt that there might be a full lockdown and began to slowly reduce activities to make the full lockdown less of a shock, the children require consistency and predictability in their lives.

The coronavirus lockdown meant that our young people spent a lot of time together, almost 24/7, which I feel isn’t healthy for any family. The young people were amazing though, they took it on the chin and once again, displayed their incredible resilience.

Fountain House’s adults worked hard to ensure that consistency and routines were maintained, even if new routines had to be established. Luckily, the children were still able to attend school on a full-time basis at our onsite school. We ensured that adults and children abided by the government guidelines, and along with the rest of the country, we only went out once a day for an hour in the local area for a walk, or on a bike ride. To make these changes easier for the children, we bought lots of toys for the garden, as well as a climbing frame with swings and a slide. We also worked on indoor activities and did more baking and craft activities!

We supported social worker visits through video calls, and these were also used for family time, alongside online gaming for one young person, to ensure that positive connections were maintained.

Everyone at Fountain House worked hard throughout the pandemic to minimise the risk of spreading the virus and luckily kept safe during the first nationwide lockdown. The team were brilliant at devising unique ideas to keep everyone entertained. However, in October 2020, a couple of our adults fell ill with COVID-19 (thankfully they returned to full health) meaning that the whole home had to isolate for seven days – but this was one of our most fun and happiest times! Our young people commented things such as “it’s really like a family, isn’t it?”; they loved the huge sleepover of five children and seven adults (plus a few pets!). We all enjoyed the various activities during the isolation period which included pool games, badminton, playing vets, having photoshoots, enjoying karaoke, and having a pyjama day! We also all enjoyed making waffles and buns, and a much-needed spa day (including a hot tub!)

Both the children and the adults coped with this amazingly, and although there were many changes, really, not much changed at all! There was still lots of love, happiness, laughter and as normal, some tears too, as it was a challenging time for everybody. We are so proud of the children for persevering and keeping on going. We are also so proud of the adults, who were just fantastic. Although they struggled to have many self-care opportunities and do the things that recharge their emotional batteries, they consistently went above and beyond to ensure to the best of their ability that we had a happy house and the children felt as loved as they are.

Although there hasn’t been a huge amount of change as the restrictions have lifted, at Fountain House, it has instilled in us all the importance of family time and enjoying the small things in life (like dancing whilst cleaning to make things like that more fun!). Personally, for me, it has reinforced how lucky we are to have an amazing place like Fountain House to go to. It’s not really “work” is it?!

As part of our pandemic perspectives series, we’ve heard from:


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