Archive for May, 2020

From boy to man – VE Day 2020

Friday, May 8th, 2020

From boy to man, Robert (Bob) Chisholm – VE Day 2020

We received this fantastic write up of a young man’s experience of his first war from the daughter of our client, Robert Chisholm (Bob), along with a picture of Bob in his smart RAF Uniform.

A huge thank you to Robert and his family for letting us share his story.


Robert William Chisholm (Bob) was born Sept 9, 1922 in Birmingham.

1936-37

Bob Chisholm was around 15 years old when he became aware that things were changing. His father was the head pattern maker at William Mills Factory in Smethwick and had been intimately involved in designing the Mills hand grenade; there were even two sat on the mantlepiece in his home over the fire – his mother made his father get rid of them thankfully!

At 15 Robert left school to deliver groceries. He would think sometimes about the invasions that were happening in China, the ending of the Spanish Civil War and how Germany was living under the conditions imposed after WW1 and Hitler’s rise. At that time Bob even thought that war might be a big adventure, but overall he was too young for it to affect him. However, a couple of years later he  would hear of Hitler making ominous threats. 

1939 onwards

On September 1st 1939 the Second World War started, and by now Bob was almost 17. For around nine months not a lot happened, but that changed quickly. Birmingham became the prime bomb target and Robert would often walk the streets looking for fire bombs to put out, having been instructed as to how to deal with them.

There would be bombs dropped and anti-aircraft guns blasting as he walked home after an evening at the movies, often having to hide up entry ways between houses to avoid the jagged pieces of shell (called ack acks). Usually one night a week would be spent fire watching at work; a German plane became easy to recognize by the sound of its engine.

One night while visiting the outhouse he heard the drone of a German airplane. It dropped about six bombs, with the last one being only 120yards away.

Before a brick bomb shelter was built in the yard, Robert and his family would hide under the stairs. Eventually there were bomb shelters built in Summerfield Park where they would shelter when the sirens would sound. One night while trying to find his mother, Bob was blown off his feet by a bomb being dropped in Summerfield Park. Bob was lucky, but that same bomb killed the uncle of a friend that evening, as he stepped outside of his backdoor.

At 18 years old Bob volunteered to join up. He had wanted to join the Tank Core but upon arriving at Dale End recruiting office he was told they were in need of RAF Armourers, so he signed on the dotted line. Bob will tell you he thinks it was luck that day, because all in all he felt he had ‘a good war. 

For his first weeks in the RAF Robert was sent to Cardington Induction Centre, kitted out and allocated a hut. That night was the first night he had ever had a bed to himself! Not too long afterwards Bob was sent to Skegness for 14 weeks of “foot slogging”. As an athletic person this was no hardship for Bob, he enjoyed the physical challenge.

Bob spent the war in the UK working on the planes, ensuring they were safe to fly and at times taking a test flight up with pilots. He was stationed at various places in the UK, including Luton, Bigglewade, Shrewsbury, Cardiff, St Anthan, Wrexham, Chester, York, Burton and Skegness.

One Missed Lunch – VE Day 2020

Friday, May 8th, 2020

We were sent in this wonderful article, written by one of our clients, Betty Cobb, in Celebration of VE Day 2020. Betty’s daughter told us that Betty’s granddaughters are both teachers and Betty loved nothing more than going into schools and sharing her stories!

This story originally featured on the BBC website in 2014, as part of their WWII People’s War collection. The full story has been included below – we hope you enjoy this as much as we do!


One Missed Lunch, by Betty Cobb – VE Day 2020

My name was Betty Lawrence, we lived at Talbot Road, East-Ham, London, E6. I was 9 and 3/4 when war was declared, my sister Dorothy was 6 and 3/4 my twin brothers were born December 1939.

Our father, Charles, was called up into the RAF two weeks before war was declared, as he was on reserve, he had served 8 years in the RAF previously. He was a flight sgt. We were sad to see him leave. My mother, then six months pregnant with twins, must have been very apprehensive, wondering how we would cope, but she did, very bravely.

SPRING (1940)
My father was stationed far away in RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland. One Sunday lunchtime my father’s brother and his wife came to see us and have a meal with us. Just as the meal was being dished up the siren went, signalling an air raid. We hurried into the garden and down into the Anderson shelter. I can still smell the earthy mustiness of it. After a few minutes in the shelter, there was a loud bump and our shelter shuddered, my uncle looked out of the shelter, the fence between our house and next door had a gap in it, where my sister used to go through and play with the little Jewish girl. My uncle saw fins of (what we found later out was a 500lb bomb) an unexploded bomb, right on the shelter belonging to the family next door, who luckily had gone out that day. Imagine! They were the only family in our long road that owned a car; makes you wonder where the petrol came from!

Hurriedly my uncle, aunt and our mother ushered us through the house, collecting bottles, nappies and the pram for the twins. We went as we were to the air raid post on the corner of the street, the raid was still taking place. Several other people were in the same situation as us.

We were all transported to a hall in Romford where we slept on camp beds. We stayed for a week until the army could defuse the bombs in the vicinity. When we arrived home, our lovely meal was all mouldy. But we were safe!

My school, Vicarage Lane Junior, started an evacuation scheme. It was then my mother decided it was safer for us to leave London. Usually children went without their parents, but because she had the twin babies, she was allowed to go with us. Off we went, by train, with our gas masks on our backs and our little brown labels pinned on us, we thought it a great adventure.

When we arrived at Kingsthorpe, Northampton, the authorities had not enough placements for us so we had to sleep on dreaded camp beds, again, in an empty shop on White Hills Estate.

When we eventually were placed with host families, my sister and I were with one family and my mother the other side of the estate with another family. Our placement hadn’t a bedroom for us, so we slept on the dreaded camp bed, again, in the dining room. Then we had to fold it up before we went to school.

The sirens went one night in Northampton, I thought to myself; “That Hitler person knows we are here!”

By now my father had been sent to Egypt on aircraft maintenance, we didn’t see him for four years. We girls remembered him, but the twins found him a stranger, until they got to know him, when he came home.

SEPTEMBER 1940
My mother had a word from my grandmother in London that our house in Talbot Road had been destroyed in the raid that night. So it was very lucky we were no longer there. So, now we were homeless but my mother never ever let us see her distressed as I am sure she must have been. After a few months of us living apart, my mother decided we would go to her mother and fathers at Grantham and here we have stayed, except one twin that lives in Canada.

Official statement regarding PPE

Friday, May 1st, 2020

Official Fosse Healthcare statement regarding PPE

For the duration of this pandemic at least, all staff will be required to follow the official Government approved guidance provided by the Department of Health, which can be found here.

This guidance states which PPE must be worn for each situation and we expect all of our care staff to follow these guidelines as a bare minimum for each visit and before entering the property of the client.

However, we also expect our staff to use their own judgement, experience and training to assess the risks on a visit by visit basis, as no client or situation is the same. We ask that they please consider the work they are doing, and the contact they will have with our clients and how they might be feeling.

Support to our care workers is provided through their local branch, as well as the COVID-19 section of our website, but also through the dedicated mailbox: coronavirus@fossehealthcare.co.uk


Stock of PPE

All of our branches are provided with adequate PPE and are stocked up for at least 4 weeks ahead; we centrally procure and manage our PPE so we always have an accurate view of residual stock.  All care staff have access to this PPE through a system which monitors the usage person by person.  Care workers can either pick-up the PPE stock they need from their local branch or we can deliver it to them upon request. 

We ask our care staff to consider what PPE they need for the clients they deliver care to, and to engage with their local branch with plenty of notice when additional PPE stock is required. Our care staff should consider every eventuality by having enough PPE with them to last if something unexpected does happen, such as a client becoming symptomatic.

Our monitoring system has been put in place for the safety of our staff to ensure all care workers have access to the PPE they need. All staff have full access to our PPE stock for their safety and the safety of our clients, but as PPE is a critical resource and stocks nationally are challenging, anyone using excessive amounts of PPE without a valid reason could be putting themselves and their colleagues at risk of PPE shortages.


Local Authority Guidelines

Whilst as a business we are working to the guidelines of the Department of Health, it is important to understand that some local authorities have provided their own interpretation on the Department of Health guidance. Where that’s the case we will ensure the impacted care workers are aware and appropriately trained.

We are working closely with all local authorities to ensure our staff comply with this, but we highly recommend that all staff check in with their branches regularly should they have any queries so as to ensure they are using the correct PPE and have enough stock with them to comply with these guidelines.


Reusing PPE

The Department of Health guidelines, found via the link above, provide further context around reusing PPE in the event of a PPE shortage. Please note that we feel we have sufficient PPE stock and therefore don’t see a need to reuse PPE. We also feel a lot of the PPE items used by our care workers are not reusable anyway. 

Should we ever need to revisit our position we would do so with consent from the Department of Health and Local Authorities.


Disposing of PPE

All PPE should be disposed in line with the Department of Health – see guidelines above.

Absolutely no PPE is to be discarded or littered carelessly as this could cause a danger to local residents, wildlife and the environment.


Testing

All social care staff are eligible for free testing when needed. If a member of staff feels they may require testing they should contact their local branch immediately. Care staff can also book their own test using the Gov.uk website.

This includes situations where a member of staff may have been in contact with a client who has later become symptomatic or confirmed, or if they have been in a property where another household member has become symptomatic or confirmed – both their own and that of a client.

The local branch will organize the necessary referrals to facilitate testing.