A residential home manager from Streatham is one of the coronavirus heroes to receive an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his services to vulnerable children.
Trevor Elliot, 29, manager of Ladywell Children’s Home in Lewisham, ensured he and his team were able to accept children at risk during lockdown, when many other children’s homes were unable to.
On receiving his MBE, Elliot expressed his surprise for the recognition given to work he clearly considers a natural calling.
He said: “It’s a surreal feeling, when you enjoy what you do it’s sometimes hard to feel like you are doing something out of the ordinary. I love my work so it all feels completely natural.”
For many children’s homes, financial restraints and health concerns courtesy of the pandemic made it an impossible task for them to accept new children into their care.
Elliot explained how Ladywell Children’s Home continued to accept referrals for placements but used planned moves to safely accept new children.
Their approach involved the child isolating in their previous care for 14 days, whilst in constant communication with Elliot and his team, to ensure a sense of familiarity with both staff and premises and as smooth a transfer as possible.
Elliot added: “It was all about us being proactive. There was a threat of children becoming lost and forgotten amongst the chaos of Covid-19.
“We had to ask ourselves – do we hide? Or do we stand up and be counted for?”
He also explained how the lockdown enforcements meant more one-to-one time with the children, which led to more intimate exchanges.
It also meant strengthening relationships through interactive games and mentoring involving education on how to keep safe throughout the pandemic.
Elliot’s work with vulnerable children started long before the pandemic struck.
He had a tough upbringing in Streatham, where he saw many friends being lured into gang culture due to the lack of community services, which gave him the motivation to make a difference in the community.
His remarkable career began at 19 when he began setting up youth groups in and around south London, including Lambeth Action for Youth which began as a football club offering coaching to young people.
He became a foster carer at 25, taking on three young boys who have since moved on to semi-independent and fully independent living.
With the boys moving on and pursuing careers, Elliot developed his home into an Ofsted approved children’s care home which became Ladywell Children’s Home as of February 2020.
Director of Ladywell Children’s Home, Dr Nigel Kennedy, has known Elliot for the last ten years and his extraordinary work leading to an MBE comes as no surprise.
Dr Kennedy said: “Trevor’s the type of guy who is always looking out for shortages in the system and opportunities for progression. He has an older head on a younger body for sure.
“If we had more people like him in this line of work we would be solving issues an awful lot quicker.”
Elliot’s ambition to continue to increase the number of children’s homes in south London and encourage more people to pursue managerial roles indicates his remarkable work is far from over.
Elliot was not the only coronavirus hero rewarded from the capital, as a frontline nurse received an OBE for her services to nursing.
The full list of honours can be found here.