Often at Street Connect we write about the people we work with and the difference an encounter with us can make in their lives, but today I’d like to take you behind the scenes. What’s it like? Often hidden from public view we work hard to oil the wheels of Street Connect.
Our Fundraising and Communications team raises awareness of what Street Connect does so we can raise funds to pay for our ever-growing staff team or for the essential items we share with people on the streets. We also build up publicity and news so that our supporters feel moved to pray or volunteer, helping us to make a bigger difference to more people. Business Support manage all the “paperwork” (now mostly on computer of course) from finance to administration – you’d be surprised how much needs to be organised and how much time it takes! Management help us stay together, networking for new ideas but keeping to our vision and moving us forwards into the future. They also look to our wellbeing and make sure we do a good job; training and helping us all to grow as people.
One of the big changes because of the pandemic has been homeworking. Though some of our staff already chose to work from home, but for many of us it has been a shock, especially combined with the social restrictions of lockdown.
What’s been good?
- Flexibility – we can work our hours round other things we like to do like… sleeping in (OK that was an accident) or going for walks during the daylight “I’ve really enjoyed getting out for walks near where I live at lunchtime. I also enjoy not having to get up as early and being at home already when my work-day finishes at 5 o’clock.”
- Staff meetings – We love feeling part of the bigger picture. Especially for those who were already working from home, Zoom and Teams have made it more accessible to get to all the meetings no matter the distance. It’s been great having meetings that include more of our staff and to communicate more regularly with frontline staff as they can join a call from wherever they are. The virtual calls also save time for frontline staff, allowing them to more effectively support our participants.
And not so good?
- The people – Although we can call each other to check in about how we are and catch up about what we did over the weekend, it’s not the same: “The digital capabilities we have are great but not a proper replacement for seeing people in person.”
- The routine – “I miss being out and about, the routine of walking to and from work which I really enjoyed. I find being in the house all day everyday makes things more monotonous.”
- The childcare – Some struggle with young children trying to get their parents’ attention, while others struggle to balance supporting their kids with their school work and doing Street Connect work. But perhaps it’s not all bad… “My children come in while I’m trying to work, asking brilliant, amusing questions or appearing at my meetings in fancy dress. I also once raced my daughter on a maths quiz during a meeting – which was fun multi-tasking.”
So how are we keeping things together?
- “I bought a puppy to keep me company.”
- “My wife and I have been learning Gaelic together.”
- “I’ve started doing jigsaws – they can become a bit of an obsession though – just one more bit … Oh I see where that goes!”
- “We set up a fundraising and communications book club on-line – OK it’s still work because it’s training articles, but it helps us talk.”
- “We pray. Our prayer time at Street Connect sets us apart from other places I’ve worked, as we support each other and those we work with, bringing illness and family worries, work presentations and problems before the Lord, sharing both good news and struggles, encouraging, blessing and supporting each other.”
But we’re confident, lockdown or not, distance working or not, we’re in this with the greatest backer there is, and He is there for us, for, “Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
This blog was written by Anne Walker, Fundraiser at Street Connect.