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Indigo in Lockdown - Our Experience!

What has that meant for our families and our team?

Whilst we could see it coming the week before, the team sat down and watched the first minister’s press conference, explaining, as of the evening of Monday 23rd March, Scotland, alongside the rest of the UK, would go into “lockdown”! What on earth did that actually mean?

As we had done for the previous week or so, #TeamIndigo sprang into action, furiously trying to understand what this meant for our families, for our staff and our organisation. With trepidation, we picked apart the plethora of guidance that was coming at us and considered what our plans needed to be and how we best respond and communicate that.

At speed, our ambitions were clear. Indigo should enter this lockdown with spirit and determination to support our families and our staff in the best ways we could, to listen and adapt to what’s needed and importantly to emerge from lockdown as strong and committed an organisation as we went in. We needed to maintain relationships with all of our families and staff and protect the sustainability of the organisation. So, what has that looked like?

Our aims were simple:

1. Adapt and provide our core services for the families of Key workers.

2. Provide appropriate services to support our families at home and maintain our valued relationships.

3. Continue our work on closing the attainment gap with children, young people and their families.

4. Support and protect our team whether at home or in work

Adapt and provide our core services for the families of Key workers.

Having ploughed through the myriad of guidance, new systems and procedures were implemented to offer core services to the families of key workers only. A lifeline for these families, it was a challenge to plan and deliver, whilst meeting guidelines and keeping everyone safe, not to mention the impact on our financial sustainability. The swift communication from Glasgow City Council that they would continue to pay statutory funded places brought a huge sigh of relief and gave confidence that in the immediate future, we could protect salaries, jobs and the vital services they delivered. Add to that the government Job Retention Scheme, this has allowed Indigo to protect almost jobs, people and families, furloughing more than 40 staff.

Provide appropriate services to support our families at home and maintaining relationships.

With the families of key workers provided for, how would we continue to support our families at home? The stresses of our families multiplied overnight; juggling work, learning, childcare and ever-changing finance and employment concerns and without that face to face daily contact, it was difficult for the team to best understand how to support them. GCC’s swift announcement again, that the holiday food money could be utilized as was now needed for families was welcomed with open arms and gave a great starting point. (I must say that the speed of announcements like this and the turnaround of funding has definitely made our ability to be agile and responsive to our families’ needs much easier – thank you!)

Indigo Eats was launched. A meal delivery programme, to help relieve some of the pressure on families and ensure as many families as possible received a ready prepared nutritious meal 2 days per week. Watch our project video below:

Whilst receiving the food relieved pressures in the obvious ways, it is also reducing expenditure, saving time in shopping and food preparation, and helps with the juggling of home-working/schooling and 24/7 childcare. Perhaps even more valuable, it has been the benefit of face to face contact (at a distance!) with our families on a regular basis. It is helping parents see they are not alone, giving them another adult to talk to and it has provided #TeamIndigo with opportunities to share some professional expertise and act as a sounding board when it just feels like it’s all getting a bit tough! The best part for us, is it’s letting the children see we’re still here for them and those Wednesday smiles are priceless!

So it really has been an incredibly helpful route to maintaining relationships with a significant number of our families, having delivered around 3800 meals (and counting) since lockdown began!

Our next blog will give a little insight into more lockdown experiences for families at home, Indigo style!

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