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Waterloo to Whitefoord: blog by our Belgian student

‘Thank you for welcoming me to Scotland, your land and Whitefoord, your home’

What can I say apart from thank you to SVR for this adventure?! I have been amazed by the facilities you provide for the veterans and the level of respect exhibited by your nation in general.

The workers in here dedicate their time to those who have dedicated their lives. It's not just limited to the workers, but extends to numerous charitable organisations, funds, and clubs surrounding Whitefoord House.

I want to thank the accessibility and patience of all those charities and businesses that have helped with the organisation of activities throughout my internship. They have offered affordable experiences in the community for our residents that allowed priceless memories – at places like Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Zoo and Edinburgh Castle. They have been welcoming and approachable, which helped our residents to engage in enriching activities..

This placement has allowed me to discover a new part of my future profession - occupational therapy. As there was no occupational therapist currently on site, it meant that I had to create my own role, and I thank the staff for the freedom I have been provided which has helped me fulfil this quest. Because the Residence’s population is so diverse, a lot of what I had learnt during my studies has been used throughout this placement. However, theory differs from practice, and I often had to dig further to intervene as best as I could. This placement has therefore helped me gain knowledge on my profession, and SVR has provided me with a range of training: professional boundaries, equality diversity and inclusion, health and safety, manual handling awareness and fire safety awareness. I also got to discover Scotland’s care services, Scotland’s landscape, myself and life.

As I have explained, I had to find my own role in the Residence, and you might now wonder what that role consisted of….

Well, as you might have seen, I went out a lot with groups of residents or with individuals. That aim was to maintain a physical activity, find a meaningful activity, increase interactions, learn how to use a walking aid on proper Edinburgh hilly ground, or simply to get out of the residence and have a good time. I’ve been in contact with the Council to make referrals for aids or adapting the rooms regarding accessibility. I have been working on daily activity, medical advice, assessing, setting a routine, return to sustainable employment or volunteering, developing independent living skills, giving information on nutrition, technology and OT’s work… A lot of communication was involved in every piece of work I undertook, as I had to report my progress back to the resident’s allocated support worker. At the end of my placement, I also made a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) analysis on the residence (OT input).

While working here, I left the Residence and residents an insight into what I had been doing - printed papers with notes, recordings on Better Futures (outcomes monitoring tool), digital copies of my presentations, evaluations, and everything I have made and used. I more than happy to leave the work I have created for anyone who comes in need.

I wish to thank all of my colleagues for the wonderful time I’ve had here. Their help, tips and humour has really made my trip one to remember. I wish to thank all three SVR sites (Whitefoord House, Rosendael and Bellrock Close), who have all welcomed me to their workplace.

Not only do I need to thank the workers who I have forged bonds with, but I need to thank the residents. If any of them has dared to read through all of this, it probably means they were worried to know how I felt throughout this placement. To you, who have taken me under your wing during this adventure far from what I know, I want to thank you for welcoming me to Scotland, your land and Whitefoord, your home. My trip has been nothing but extraordinary and I have no words to express my gratitude. I hope I have been as helpful to you as you were to me.

I will bring all these memories as I head back to Waterloo, my hometown in Belgium. First step once I get back, finish my exams at my university in Brussels, Haute École Léonard de VINCI. End of June, I will have my diploma. Next year, I might start a Masters course or study something new to broaden my perspectives and gain life experience. Anyhow, I am curious to discover what the future holds for me.

Au revoir,

Pauline Kemp,
OT student