A few weeks ago in sunny September, the AT Beacon Project team took to the streets! Well, in reality, we took over the courtyard of St Mark’s Church, Kennington.
Our typical Friday weekly Beacon Hubs see us inside of St Mark’s church, alongside another local community group. We offer blood pressure checks, health information, the opportunity to have an informal chat with our resident nurse and her team of ambassadors. Perhaps, the cherry on top is our excellent snacks? As well as the chance to be social and meet up with other people after months of isolation.
However, this Friday the weather was beautiful, and the AT Beacon Project Team (BP) wanted to try something new. We pride ourselves on our ability to pivot and adapt to whatever situation we find ourselves in. We set up our tables outside with health information, delicious snacks and a great playlist to draw in the passing trade. A lot of people stopped by some came for the free snacks and drinks but ended up staying to have a chat about their health concerns. Other people were ushered inside the church to get their blood pressure checked by our nurse. We understand that many people have not been able to see their GPs which is why we always offer blood pressure checks and have a medical professional on hand.
One particular visit stands out.
A young black man whom we shall call “D”, hears our music and stops by. He asks about what we are doing, we tell him all about the project. He asks us whether he should get the flu jab, considering that he does not meet the criteria for vulnerable people. We ask him if he has taken the Covid-19 vaccination, he had not and was in two minds about getting it. The team (we are all vaccinated) shared our respective stories about receiving the vaccine. What we did not expect was that D would open up about his experience with Covid-191. D is a builder and labourer he was working on what was supposedly a covid-secure construction site in mid-July. Temperature checks, mask-wearing and contact tracing were in place. However, a secondary entrance to the site was left unmanned, D worked in close proximity with a colleague who had come through this entrance. This man seemed to be sweating profusely and breathing hard, this is not uncommon for such strenuous work in the July heat. Later, D noticed that he had a persistent headache which he chalked up to inhaling too much dust. Within 72 hours he was bed-bound with fatigue and muscle weakness and a positive covid test result. He has since experienced some issues with kidney pain and other symptoms, leaving him unable to work for over 4 weeks. Now D suspects that his colleague had come to work infected with Covid-19 and would have been sent home if he had been tested before entering the site. D told us that he now understands the real threat of Covid-19 as he was an extremely fit and active person prior to infection. We checked his blood pressure and encouraged him to get the vaccine as soon as possible signposting him to a nearby vaccination centre. He assured us that he would.
Encounters like the one that we had with D, and similar conversations that we have every week keep us as a team inspired and motivated.
We hope to connect with you soon!