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    Throughout my time at Cymorth, I have been privileged to meet some fantastic support workers
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Hearing the voices of our frontline workers

Our Research Officer Gareth Lynn Montes introduces the new partnership between Cymorth Cymru and the Frontline Network

One of the highlights of the year at Cymorth Cymru is when we receive the nominations for our Promoting Independence Awards, especially for the Inspirational Colleague award. Among the nominated each year are a number of support workers. Reading what the nominee’s colleagues and peers write is inspirational for the Cymorth team, too. It is a shame we cannot award all the nominees but all are winners in a way, most importantly for their colleagues and the people they support.

Throughout my time at Cymorth, I have been privileged to meet some fantastic support workers who are some of the most selfless and thoughtful people I have ever met, always going the extra mile and putting the people they support at the forefront.

Of special impact to me was a series of conversations I had with support workers in the Newport area during a morning I accompanied them to their different appointments with the people they supported. Throughout the morning they would tell me about the people we were going to see and it was very obvious how much they cared about them. One person who had learning disabilities was supported with their rent and banking issues, a person recovering from alcohol dependency was given help with job searching, whilst an older lady who lived alone mainly needed someone to chat to. These were just three of the people that were supported on a single Wednesday morning within an incredibly busy weekly schedule. All had different needs and support workers have to ‘transform’ several times each day to properly meet these needs.

I’m writing about these experiences because I am very excited to be undertaking a new project here at Cymorth.

We are pleased to announce that Cymorth Cymru has formed a new partnership with the Frontline Network, part of St Martin-in-the-Fields Charity.

The network aims to provide support to frontline staff from the public, statutory and voluntary sectors who work directly with those experiencing homelessness. The ethos is to empower frontline staff, listening to their ideas and expertise, finding ways to help them and their work.

At Cymorth Cymru, we want to deepen our relationship with workers who are at the forefront of ending homelessness and achieving our organisation’s aims: to create a Wales where everyone can live safely and independently in their own homes and thrive in their communities.

Working with Frontline Network, we will create regional forums where frontline workers can express their concerns in a safe, open and non-judgemental environment. These discussions will feed into reports and contribute to Cymorth’s long-running mission to influence policy and practice.

To begin, we will be trying to encapsulate the opinions and thoughts of those who delivered support to vulnerable people during lockdown and at the height of the Covid pandemic this year. What were their fears, their motivations and their concerns? Was enough PPE available and were they given the means to continue to do their work safely and confidently?

The development and training organization Paradigm recently released a report into the experiences of support workers in their network during the pandemic and what we can learn from it (“Don’t Ever Call us Unskilled Again!”). Their report surveyed 118 support workers and other personnel who work with people with autism and/or learning disabilities. A prime consideration for these workers was the fear that the people they supported would contract the virus or feel isolated or lonely during the new living conditions under lockdown. Whilst Paradigm’s work is limited to the realm of autism and learning disabilities, they have shown a successful way of gauging the mood, opinions and thoughts of support workers during the height of the pandemic.

At a time when the status, value and vital role of support workers have become more important than ever against the backdrop of a worldwide pandemic, it is crucial that the views and opinions of frontline workers in Wales are heard and represented.

I look forward to learning about the ideas and concerns of frontline workers, how they think the sector could improve and listening to illuminating anecdotes and experiences from their important line of work.


The Frontline Network defines ‘frontline worker’ as a paid worker, who directly supports people who are experiencing homelessness. This includes those working in the Voluntary, Statutory, and Public sectors. Frontline Workers responding to this survey work in roles including outreach, housing, social work, and probation.

Sign up to the Frontline Network mailing list:

  • Already subscribed to the Cymorth mailing list? Adjust your preferences: If you're already subscribed to our mailing list and want to receive updates from the Frontline Network Wales, please adjust your preferences here.
  • New subscriber? Sign up to receive updates: If you have a caseload of your own and want to be included in this network, please sign up to our mailing list here and select the 'Frontline Network' option.

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© Cymorth Cymru 2020
Company Registration No: 5093332
Charity No: 1116774