Sorrow lays heavy on us all as we head to the end of this year; a year where so many have lost loved ones, friends, colleagues and valued members of their communities; a year when so many have not been able to enjoy the very human connections – of touch, kiss, love, hugs and affection; a year when so many have had to stay away from community – whilst shielding or protecting and caring for others more vulnerable than themselves; a year when a virus that we can’t see has seemingly taken control of almost every aspect of our lives, bringing our community, and those of others across the globe, to a standstill.
In amongst all of this the country has turned its focus to social care – often because that is where the epicentre of impact of this deadly virus has hit home. It has been care workers who have borne the brunt of supporting people in homes and communities – day in day out – seven days a week. It has been care providers and their staff who have had to adapt to hundreds of pieces of changing guidance. All this from a long armed government which, having spent years ignoring the sector and its need for reform, has tried to play rapid catch up with its understanding of what exactly happens within social care and how to build a response to this virus that still allows care which empowers and supports people who need it. Critically, it has been people living in care homes who have lost so much – so many of whom have tragically lost their lives to COVID, while huge numbers have been unable to see loved ones throughout this terrible year.
In the glare of this sudden spotlight of attention, something amazing has happened – something that should give us all hope for a better and brighter 2021. In each and every one of these communities that have been hit so hard, there has been fantastic leadership, community and care, demonstrating just what incredible value social care brings to the people and families that it serves. NCF has brought together over 100 stories of resourcefulness and resilience from the not for profit care sector to keep the light shining on social care and the positive difference it can and does make. As we count this year out, please make sure that you take a moment to read these stories that give light and hope in a time dominated by sorrow and darkness.
Whilst it has sometimes felt hard for care to be in the constant glare throughout this year, the spotlight is necessary and we must ensure that moving into 2021 we remain firmly in the public and governmental gaze. Having come blinking out of the shadows, we must ring through those new year changes and ensure that 2021 really is the year that the government takes seriously the urgency of reform for a COVID challenged sector, and reward for a COVID weary workforce.