The hard work, sacrifice and toil of millions during the pandemic is being celebrated this professional care workers’ day.
People across the country are coming together to pay their respects to those who have been working in challenging conditions, particularly during the coronavirus outbreak.
First launched in 2018, the annual event has been backed by organisations including the National Care Forum and GMB Union to highlight the efforts of care staff – many of whom have gone above and beyond to protect their families and others.
David Young, a support worker at Community Integrated Care (CIC) in Caithness, decided to move into his greenhouse to protect his mother and wife, who were both shielding.
He went weeks without any face-to-face interaction to minimise any possibility of passing infections from work onto them.
Mr Young said: “I put a camp bed and a gas heater in my greenhouse, and my wife would leave my dinner on the driveway for me to collect.
“I used a basin to get washed in and got dressed each day in the greenhouse.
“It seems like a big sacrifice but, as I see it, I was just doing my bit.
“Although it was lonely and cold at times, knowing I was doing the right thing to keep everyone safe kept me going.”
After 22 years working with CIC, Lynne Corrie-Jackson traded the busy shifts for a quieter life as an embroiderer.
But she decided to head back to the front lines after seeing the pandemic’s affect on other countries, signing up to work at Arkdale in Peterhead.
“It’s impossible to completely reassure people about what’s going to happen next, when you don’t know what’s going to happen yourself,” she said.
“It’s been very tough, but coming back in this situation really reignited my passion for what I’d done for so long.”
Karolina Gerlich, executive director at organiser The Care Workers’ Charity, said: “Care and support workers have a challenging and rewarding job that is different every day and over the past months care workers have shown how exceptional they are.
“During a period of global uncertainty, the most vulnerable members of our society have been cared for in care settings, supported living facilities and in their own homes, by care staff.
“They have overcome the challenges of the pandemic with integrity and resilience.”
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman added: “Never has there been a time when we have had so much to be grateful for from our care sector, and particularly from the frontline workers who have worked tirelessly and given up so much for those members of our society who they care for.
“We have a long journey ahead and measures to fight the virus, such as physical distancing, may be with us for some time yet.
“It is vital that we continue to support care workers in every way we can.
“That is why we launched a number of new initiatives including the Social Care Staff Support Fund which ensures that social care workers should not suffer financial hardship if they are off sick or isolating due to COVID-19.”