CARE WORKER’S COVID-19 POEM PICKED UP FOR SOCIAL CARE WALES CAMPAIGN AFTER IT STRIKES CHORD WITH HUNDREDS
A social care worker’s poem about the response to coronavirus – composed during breaks in her current work in the community – has struck a chord with hundreds.
Sioned Haf Coleman, from Conwy, is a second year Social Work student at Wrexham Glyndwr University.
Sioned, a former local authority assessing and reviewing officer, is currently studying to achieve full Social Worker status at Glyndwr – and is combining her studies with a role at a north Wales care agency, helping with the community response to coronavirus.
Her current role means she has had to take the difficult decision to move out of her family home – as a family member is shielding themselves from the virus – to continue with her current work.
She said: “I have been helping out in my local care agency, helping vulnerable people hands on with all the daily tasks of living that they find challenging. I get great satisfaction with this job and it will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a great way to get insight into how the older generation live and the struggles they go through daily. It really makes you
respect your elders.
“Since Lockdown I made the decision to move out of my family home to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 if I was to contract it – my dad is classed as high risk and received a letter from the government advising him to stay in for 12 weeks.
“It has been tough, I am working as much as my body will physically allow, wearing all of the PPE provided and taking every precaution. I miss my parents, my Nain and my little niece Gracie – who does not quite understand why she cannot hug her Aunty Sioned – but their health is all that matters to me and we have to do what needs to be done.”
Sioned – who has been a keen writer since she was young – has written many poems to help her deal with various situations, and found herself wanting to compose a poem in response to the current crisis.
She said: “I get it from my dad, Kevin – he has a knack for it, so I think I picked it up from him.
“I write poems as a way of relieving stress and anxiety mainly. If I had something on my mind, I would write a poem about it and felt instantly better once it was finished.
“This poem I have written about COVID-19 is close to my heart – and it was almost bursting to come out.
“One night I couldn’t sleep and I just started to write. It took me about two hours to write – but by the time the sun came up it was done and I felt more relaxed. I didn’t put the poem anywhere for a few days then thought, ‘maybe people would want to read this, maybe it could help a lot of people the way it has helped me?
“So, I posted it onto social media and I think it got 71 shares in the first hour. I was blown away and didn’t expect such a positive response. I also sent it to one of my tutors at Glyndwr, Liz Lefroy, who I know appreciates a poem – and she asked if she could share it with the university!”
After the poem was shared online by Liz and Glyndwr’s Social Work team, Sioned was contacted by Social Care Wales, the organisation which works with people receiving care and support across Wales – who were also interested in her poem.
She said: “An assistant director of Social Care Wales got in touch via social media, congratulating me on my poem – and asked if they could feature it on their #WeCareWales campaign. I was shocked and felt so honoured – and said yes.”
The #WeCareWales campaign was launched a year ago to raise awareness and understanding of the social care sector. It aims to help to attract more people who have the right skills and values, to consider working in care.
An online jobs portal – which forms part of the campaign – is now live to help social care employers urgently fill vacancies to cope with the demand.
Since its launch at the start of lockdown, more than 13,750 visitors have scanned through more than 800 job vacancies in care.
To search the job vacancies in social care in Wales, visit WeCare.wales/jobs
Sioned’s poem has also been recorded for charity.
She added: “ My sister is registered blind and works for Galloway’s Society for the Blind – and she asked if I would record myself reciting the poem so they could send it out to their members and they could listen.
“It has been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest, and I feel very overwhelmed with all of the kind words people have said about my poem, I feel privileged that it has touched them in some way or another and that they wanted to continue to share it with others.”
Senior lecturer in Social Work at Wrexham Glyndwr University, Liz Lefroy, who is also a poet said: “I think my interest in poetry is seen by students as a bit of an eccentricity at times, but it’s well-known by them, so I was delighted when Sioned sent her poem to me.
“Poetry is sometimes seen as inaccessible, but I knew that Sioned had written a poem others could relate to straight away, so I asked her if I could share it with other students and staff. It was my colleague Nick who suggested posting it on our Social Work programme Facebook page, and from there, the poem has taken on a life of its own.
“I’m full of respect for our students, many of whom are working in social care at the moment. Sioned’s story brings to life the day-to-day realities of their commitment, and the sacrifices and rewards it entails.”