Mouhammad has successfully adapted his work with BGF to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Ensuring that the stricter hygiene standards it has forced are followed through the use of sufficient protective gear, he continues holding face-to-face visits with clients.
"I do have to do a lot more planning in my day. I might need to ring around a few stores to check on the availability of an item for a client or whether that vendor is still operational, or find out what times they are open and then plan my day based on that.
PPE has been the biggest challenge from a practical viewpoint. It takes time and effort to go that extra bit and ensure we maintain those basic boundaries. Some clients find it very confronting for you to turn up at their door in a mask and gloves, but are usually reassured that it is for their own protection as much as ours or the wider community. Being mindful of hygiene and using PPE has probably been the only tangible challenge, but an easy one to overcome."
Mouhammad believes that the voices of clients need to be better acknowledged by community and government organisations they seek assistance from and that their needs should be more appropriately accounted for.
"One thing that comes to mind in regards to what more community and government organisations can do is listen to clients. For example there are some BGF clients who have their finances managed it would be beneficial if such services were more amenable and flexible to what the clients are asking for. They could be more supportive."
The routines and daily lives of many of Mouhammad’s clients have changed due to the current situation, with the physical isolation from others it has forced emerging as a particularly prominent issue. To reduce the impact of this, he and BGF have maintained a strong presence as supportive figures in their lives.
"Isolation has been the most pressing concern of late. That and getting to appointments etc. Many clients miss going to the gym which is often part of their rehab, so that concerns them. Many have gym set-up’s at home which helps and some gyms are offering classes online, so that is a great option, but it’s not the same for any of them. They miss the routine of getting ready for the gym, doing their workout and then maybe having lunch with a friend afterwards.
Clients really do appreciate that BGF are here for the long haul and that they are never forgotten by us.
I’ve been able to maintain a strong rapport with clients. As I was ending a shift last week, two clients expressed how happy they are with the support they’ve been receiving from me and for BGF as a whole organisation. They appreciate that we are still out in the community doing our job during such a difficult time. Just sitting there listening and chatting to them as I work is important."