Real Lives

Face Of The Frontline

Labelled ‘low-skilled’ workers by the Government in March and then ‘key workers’ in April. The frontline teams that make up the social care sector have had the eyes of the world placed firmly on them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In July, social care charity, Community Integrated was featured in a BBC Panorama special. The hour-long documentary charts the journey of the charity through the peak of this crisis and is a truly powerful film that brings to life the many challenges that the care sector has faced during the pandemic.

It sees Panorama spend three months in EachStep Blackley, a leading specialist dementia nursing care home operated by the charity in Manchester. It follows their colleagues through a dramatic period, which saw the service lock down early to protect residents, the devastating impact of the virus hitting the home, and their efforts to fight back and return to a more normal life.

Capturing tragic moments where the home lost much loved residents to the virus, as well as the joyful experiences of people making full recoveries from infections, it reveals the stark highs and lows that care services have experienced in recent months.

Mark Adams

Mark Adams, CEO of Community Integrated Care, says: “When we first approached Panorama, we did so aspiring to document the important role that social care workers would play in the biggest crisis of a generation. At this time, the focus of the nation was centred on the heroism of NHS workers. We knew that social care workers were taking equally profound risks but doing so on the lowest pay in society and without the safety net of sick pay and felt strongly that their story needed telling too.”

He continued, “What Panorama have captured goes much deeper than we could have ever anticipated. They portrayed the human story of a crisis that has been devastating to the sector, the people we support, their loved ones and our carers. Everyone who watches this film will see social care in different light and understand how vital it is to society. You cannot watch this documentary and fail to be struck by the debt of gratitude that we owe to the people who deliver and support care.”

Michelle Phillips

Michelle Phillips, Home Manager at EachStep Blackley, says: “Everybody was so pleased with how Panorama portrayed us and the care sector as a whole – we were so proud to say we did right by the people who live in EachStep Blackley, and individually we’re all really proud of one another.”

“While it was difficult to have every move caught on camera, it was great for the team to be able to show the world how they responded to such an unprecedented situation. Throughout the pandemic, our colleagues were scared, but they kept coming in for the people they care for, and that was the same up and down the country. It was a privilege to be able to tell that story for the greater good of all care services.”

BBC’s Panorama’s The Forgotten Frontline is available to watch now on iPlayer.

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