Day 12 of 100 Days

Sarah Swaysland

Tuesday, 12th January 2021

Day 12 of volunteering, but day two of homeschooling... All was well at St Swaysland's School of Hugs and my son seems to be coping with the homeschooling with remarkably little television. That's because we received a delivery today which came in a MASSIVE box which has turned out to be a den, a shop and a shunting yard.

What: Project Planning
Organisation: Only A Pavement Away

My son is an early riser, so my partner was able to start work at about 7.15 while I got busy building a badass train track, to the soundtrack of Dr Seuss’s Cat in the Hat as read by Adrian Edmonson (it's really good). Simon's early start enabled me to nip off at 9am to hop onto a Zoom call with the Only A Pavement Away crew. We're launching an exciting project in June (was meant to be in March but, Covid...) and I'm a part of the project team. In a nutshell, we’re launching a project called the Life Skills Hub, where the purpose is to train those being rehoused and re-employed in how to live independently whilst developing their employability skills. We’ve been given a huge boost from the Freemasons (a £50k grant) and we’re going to be launching in London to begin with and once the concept has been proven, we will move out into other cities. This will all be hospitality-focussed, with the clients to go into either front of house or back of house roles within partner venues. We’ve already got Gaucho Group, the Ivy Group and Bill’s signed-up as employers and we’re now on the hunt for suppliers who can help us out with more practical solutions to helping our clients cook for themselves at home. It’s all very well learning how to cook, but if you get home and you have no saucepans or cutlery, what’s the point? You’ll be hearing a lot more about this project over the coming months, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

And then there was home schooling… As a parent who is trying to home school my son at the moment, I always feel the need to justify myself and tell people what I'm doing with him (even though it’s my business, not theirs). Conversely, when he does go to school, I'm finding myself explaining to people why I'm sending him in because in their opinion it's not safe (again, my choice). Either way, you can't win and nowadays I think you're going to feel guilty as a parent no matter what you do. For me, it's a balance between the short-term (yet high) risk of getting Covid and the long-term risk to my son's mental health and progression. My son needs school – all kids do, and I just feel for all the children who aren’t able to go to school. I also really feel for the parents who are mentally battling the guilt of feeling like they’re not good enough because they can’t teach their kids as well as the people trained to actually do it. I just don’t have the skills to deal with teaching a child who has autism, and it can be really hard to try your best and not feel like a complete failure. Writing about it definitely helps, but it’s still difficult.

What: Telephone Befriending
Organisation: Age UK

As it’s a Tuesday, I also spoke to Lady T. Not much has changed for Lady T (or me for that matter) other than I was surprised to hear that she hasn’t finished watching the Queen’s Gambit. I thought of her when I was chatting to my parents, because my dad is also binging the series and loves it – he’s finding it a great way to pass the time. I’m hopefully going to be meeting her for the first time soon. She needs a cheque put in the bank and can’t get out but doesn’t know any of her neighbours well enough to give it to them, so I said I’d pop round and do it for her. I need to get to the bank anyway. My partner’s parents bought our son some premium bonds and he keeps winning £25 prizes that need to be put in his account. My going to the bank for Lady T all hinges on whether or not my son goes back to school next week. If I do see lady T, it’ll be really weird meeting up all masked-up with sanitiser in hand, but I’m looking forward to finally meeting my friend, nonetheless.