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From the frontline: Sharon Turner, taking on a different role to help our customers

Sharon is a retirement living officer supporting Care Plus customers in South Staffordshire. Like many other people, coronavirus has meant she has been working differently. At the moment, she’s based at home from where she is keeping in touch with customers by telephone.

For almost two months, though, Sharon’s experience meant that she took on a very different role.

Before she joined Care Plus, Sharon used to work in the control centre at Stafford and Rural Homes, where she helped to provide the vital 24:7 You First telecare response for vulnerable customers across the country.

The response service, which has been part of the support available to Care Plus customers since April, needed additional support during the pandemic and so Sharon spent seven weeks as part of the team, while her colleagues stepped-in to keep in regular contact with her usual customers.

“The control centre responds to lifeline calls and pendant alarm calls from customers all over the country, as well as answering emergency repair calls out-of-hours. Social distancing meant that only two of us could be in that part of the office at a time, so it felt quite different but it was nice to be working with some of my former colleagues.

“It is always busy in that team but particularly so in lockdown. We were each answering up to 200 calls a day and keeping the line to the customer open if we were waiting for the emergency services. People were often very anxious and needed reassurance.

“It’s a demanding job and I really admire the You First team for everything they do. It has been an incredibly valuable service for so many customers during the pandemic and it felt good to be a part of that. We’ve all got to pull together at a time like this, I was pleased to be able to do my bit.”