“I go from one care-giving job to another over 24 hours”

Adult woman exercising at home during quarantine with daughter

International Women’s Day 2021 #IWD2021


Story by Karen Mckenzie, Islington Council RSS team  


Islington’s Resident Support Scheme (RSS) is a local welfare fund which offers help to residents during times of crisis. Karen is the RSS Team Manager. 


For many reasons it is difficult to complain or grumble looking from the inside of my working from home bubble, outside into the community I work to support. I have a secure enough job which is fulfilling most times, but, as a woman working full –time with a dependant family, including elderly parents to look after, it has been difficult. The separation (escape really) between home and work life has gone. I go from one care-giving job to another over 24 hours, and all of it is demanding and relentless. Gone are the periods of escape and recharge with a chance to catch-up on yourself by going to the gym, a walk out during lunch time, an idle conversation with colleagues in the staff kitchen and actually meeting residents. Although my work has been focused on helping our Islington residents during this pandemic not being able to communicate directly somehow takes away that personal touch we had before. The online be good to yourself  type sessions and plugging of exercise classes/ meditation etc. available can never replace human contact or elevate the stress us women are still under to provide for our loved ones, hold down a full-time job while looking after our own mental and physical health. At 50 I have concerns about menopause, changes to my body and mind with no real opportunity to express this right now and feel guilty even mentioning it in the current climate!        

Islington Council as an employee has been supportive in the approach to working from home and work life balance. For me I have used my annual leave to have quality time but the laptop and temptation to check in is not far away. At the same time there is pressure to deliver the extra services to residents in particular women in our community; women faced with Domestic Violence situations, home schooling, single parenthood, financial difficulties and sickness due to Covid-19; failing in this service delivery is not an option.