NJH does Covid-19 ?

Illness, death, fear, scenes from a movie, panic buying supplies, shops with no meat, no veg & no toilet paper! Schools closing, exams being cancelled, the opening of the NHS Louisa Jordan emergency hospital in the SECC, air travel stopped, petrol prices falling – now we knew it must be serious!

March 23rd 2020 – LOCKDOWN – The government announced that the UK would shut down with only essential travel being permitted. Although we had anticipated this moment, having closely monitored the daily updates for 3 weeks; the reality of it was grim.

Within NJH we all experienced this announcement very differently. We watched the Prime Ministers announcement together and our young people really got it – they really understood the purpose and rationale for keeping people safe – in its simplest form this is what Lockdown aimed to achieve.

For the adult’s the announcement came with additional thoughts and worries about the society & world we live in, practical concerns about travel to work and worry about how they would support our young people. However, they rose to the challenge – I recently read about the role of residential child care in preparing you for identifying, supporting and tackling crisis. This could not be truer. A skill set already in place helped the team find the momentum to tackle the new reality of day to day in NJH.

For the management team it seemed to lift some anxiety – anxiety caused by anticipation of the inevitable. At the same time it kicked start stage 2 of our Covid-19 planning – in a plan, do, review style this meant we had to begin implementing all of the changes and suggestions that had been until now, idea’s of how NJH would operate under lockdown. Ensuring the least negative impact on our children and young people and our team. Central to all this planning was the belief that there would be opportunities that wouldn’t have been around before and a huge commitment to embracing each of these and creating a positive environment for everyone. Our core values; Love, Live, Laugh, Learn, Nurture, Joy & Hope had never seemed more important.

As the days moved on, our young people began to struggle with the reality of lockdown. The depth of its implications became apparent and out of this was born the Covid-19 survival list. The team rallied & held our young people together, individually & as a group. They were able to feel safe enough to explore their worries and fears and work towards creating a new perspective.

Week 3 saw the inevitable ‘team wobble’ – our kids were safe & adapting; they were growing & developing & they were up for new challenges & adventures. The team could relax & take a moment to really feel the power of lockdown on them personally & professionally. Overwhelming for sure, but it demonstrated the importance of communication & highlighted everyday moments of kindness & appreciation. Our young people rallied & they held us. Utterly magical ?

Although we are still planning & doing, we are also reviewing & this week we took the time to appreciate all the goodness, positives & achievements we have seen in the house throughout this Covid – 19 chaos. We wanted to share with you some of the things we have been up to in the last 5 weeks of lockdown at NJH. We have learned that for now this is life and we are going to tackle it head on; we are going to push ourselves in ways we would never have done before & we are going to smash all our goals & more. We accept that some days we will really feel the impact but thats ok because we have each other & we already have so many positives to look back on as a reminder that we have absolutely got this!

I could not be prouder of this amazing bunch of humans. These people are real game changers & I can not wait to see where they take this to next??

Elaine  xx

Puppy Love

We have had some really fun times with Oscar & Brodie hanging out at NJH. They definitely help keep our spirits raised and help keep us on our toes. They both love to play & cuddle ?

Easter 2020

Despite the lockdown we still managed to have our traditional Easter Egg Hunt.  Thankfully the sun was shining and we actually spent most of our day in the garden.  The squirrels had made significant attempts to get hold of some of our hidden eggs, but they weren’t quick enough!

The Great Outdoors

We have really been exploring the cycle path and other area’s around NJH. We are so fortunate to have such good surrounding’s on our door step. It has inspired us all to do more in terms of our fitness and we have been setting each other challenges and totally smashing these. We are working towards achieving certificates in the Dynamic youth Awards based on our challenges and skills development over the last 5 weeks.

Indoor Fun

We have been finding lot’s of things to keep us entertained within the house.  From arts & crafts to board games, salon service’s, cooking & learning new skills.  We have spent a lot more time doing things together and really reflecting on covid-19 & it’s impact on us. Tik Tok has also become a new favourite past time for both the young people and adults ?


Wednesday 5th February 2020 saw us attend the much-awaited launch of the Independent Care Review.  WOW! Nether Johnstone House welcomed the findings and pledged their commitment to #KeepThePromise.

Recognition of the incredible importance of authentic relationships in helping our children and young people grow, develop and heal is fundamental to the core values at the heart of Nether Johnstone House.

The five foundations from which The Promise is built: Voice, Family, Care, People & Scaffolding hold the key to ensuring that Scotland is indeed ‘the best place in the world to grow up’.  Supporting our children and young people to stay connected and build on their relationships with those who are important to them is vital in a longer-term cultural shift of the care we provide in Scotland.  The team at Nether Johnstone House are committed to supporting these five foundations by:

Voice: Continuing to listen, encourage and enable our children and young people to be active participants in any decisions about their care.

Family: Find new and innovative ways to support our young people to spend time safely with their families in a way which is natural and developmentally supportive for all.

Care: Make Nether Johnstone House ‘the best place to live’, keeping childhood’s alive for those who are unable to live with their families, keeping brothers and sisters together.  Be adaptive and inclusive, welcoming change and ensuring that our children and young people shape the way in which they are cared for.  Continuing to welcome all our children and young people ‘home’ long after they have moved on from NJH.

People: Keeping relationships at the heart of everything we do, ensuring that we recognise and nurture healthy relationships to promote personal growth and an understanding of each other’s journey.

Scaffolding: Shaping our environment to the individual.  Be creative, authentic and work from the fundamental principles of a social pedagogical approach engrained within our values and culture.

Being part of this amazing review over the past 18 months has had a huge impact in shaping the culture and values of our children, young people and team at NJH.  We have had many opportunities to share our experiences and stories in a variety of ways and we can’t wait to be part of #KeepThePromise.  Watch out for our NJH contribution ‘The Farm’.

We created a movie!

In the summer the young people and team at NJH took part in a project alongside SSSC to create a new website promoting careers in care. We wanted those considering a career in care to see what it’s like to work in a residential childcare setting. We all had a great time creating this video & our young people were left with the humble feeling that they may be instrumental in encouraging the decisions of others to pursue a career working in the care sector. Alongside promoting such careers our young people were able to gain a degree of confidence in sharing their experiences & being filmed live in their day to day lives. An amazing opportunity – we now have some budding film stars in the making ?

Watch our video to see what a day in the life at NJH can be like….

Halloween 2019 @ NJH was Spooktacular!

This year we made our own costumes, took part in the Paisley Halloween parade and spent the night at Kelburn Quarantine! We all got a little bit of extra fitness in that evening! The forest is the perfect place to scare the socks off you on Halloween!

A Day in the Life of a Residential Childcare Worker

In Sept 2019 we attended the launch of the SSSC Careers in care website.  NJH had produced a film about ‘a day in the life of a residential childcare worker’ alongside SSSC and this was a great opportunity for our young people to share their thoughts and experiences of this.  In this podcast we hear from two NJH young people, one who currently lives at NJH – Tasha and Charlotte who now has her own house in Kilmarnock, Greg Murnin; Assistant Service Manger & Elaine Hamilton; Service Manager, about why a career in Residential childcare is not to be missed!

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