What is your role at RVA?
I’ve been with RVA for just over a year now as the Services Administrator. My role involves a wide range of administrative responsibilities designed to help the rest of the RVA team deliver the services we provide. I’m the stubby legs whirring away frantically under the surface to help keep the elegant swan that is RVA gliding along serenely!
How has your role changed since the coronavirus outbreak?
Part of my role since the outbreak has been about helping RVA adapt to the change to our physical presence while we’ve been away from our office in Reading Central Library. This has ranged from things like helping get our team set up to work remotely to supporting the delivery of online training sessions. I also helped run the volunteer shopping service RVA provided through the One Reading Community Hub to deliver shopping to people isolated during lockdown.
What has been the most challenging part of the changes over the last few months?
I think it’s been the general uncertainty about the future that has been the backdrop to events over the last few months. There’s been such a need to find new ways of working to continue existing services and deliver new ones, all with that question mark of whether circumstances with the virus and economy will have shifted again a month down the line.
Were there any positives to lockdown for you?
Unquestionably it’s been wonderful to see the incredible resilience and generosity the people of Reading have shown. Through lockdown I fielded most of the calls to RVA, and the sheer scale of the response from people wanting to get involved and help others, whether through volunteering their time or donating resources, was fantastic to hear.
As we look to a future shaped by coronavirus, are there things you are particularly concerned about or hopeful for?
I think some underlying issues have been really starkly exposed by the coronavirus outbreak, such as the challenges getting information out to people without access to the internet, and how isolating it can be for them as more services move online. I’m hopeful though that this crisis has brought greater awareness of the issue and new momentum towards providing greater digital inclusion. In the near term it may also be through organisations looking at new ways of reaching isolated people and communities, or indeed by remembering the effectiveness of more traditional methods like printed leaflets and posters.