Real Lives

Cutting it in a crisis

Marie James

Salon Team at Belong Crewe move from hair to care during pandemic

The resilience and teamwork shown by Trulea Greensmith and Marie James, who together make up the salon team at Belong Crewe, makes them truly worthy to be called Social Care Covid Heroes. While unable to do what they love day-to-day, their commitment to putting the welfare of residents first has taken on new forms during the coronavirus pandemic.

In normal times, the salon is the social hub of the village, offering hair and beauty services and treatments for residents and visitors, who value the beauty therapists as much for the interaction they enjoy with them as for the services they offer. With many of the village’s residents living with dementia, they derive great comfort from the physical touch and stimulation provided by their salon visits. The door of the salon is always open to those who may be feeling lonely and just want a chat, and many see the salon team as their friends.

Trulea Greensmith

The salon is indeed part of a wider, vibrant village centre within Belong’s specialist dementia care villages, with other amenities including a bistro, exercise studio and function rooms, all of which are usually open to the public as well as the Belong community.

When Belong Crewe was forced to close its doors to the public in March last year and the salon’s services had to be suspended, it left a void in the lives of residents, as well as the team who work there. Responding to this, Trulea and Marie immediately sprang into action and sought to do what they could do to help during the Covid-19 crisis.

Without complaint or hesitation, they started working with the housekeeping team to support the increased requirements of heightened infection control practices, including assisting with regular cleaning routines and sanitisation procedures.

Craving the interaction with residents again, and wishing to support the well-being of those who were liable to feel lonely or isolated, they also got involved with the village’s experience day team to facilitate meaningful activities and valuable interactions, such as playing games or accompanying residents on walks.

The pair have also been assisting with the implementation of Covid-19 testing for both residents and colleagues throughout the pandemic, including ordering test kits, administering tests and sending them for processing.

Commenting on what being able to support residents throughout the coronavirus pandemic has meant to her, Trulea said: “Despite the salon closing to the public, I feel privileged to be able to keep working and be part of the efforts to make life as normal as possible for our residents as well as keeping them and colleagues safe. It’s just nice to feel useful, and it has also kept some normality and routine in my own life, which has helped to keep me sane!”

Marie added: “I’m very grateful for sense of purpose that supporting the team has given me while so many other salon workers have been unable to work. It’s also given me a new perspective on other people’s roles at the village that I’ll carry with me when the pandemic is over.”

The Salon Team at Belong Crewe has been nominated for the Ancillary Worker Team Award at the Great British Care Awards.

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