Story 33 - Blog

Amanda's Story

Amanda is one of Look Ahead’s longest serving staff, she has played a valued role for more than half of our fifty years.

I’m proud to say I’ve worked at Look Ahead for 28 years now. Back when I first started, Look Ahead was going through a period of huge change and we were developing housing for rough sleepers. My first job was as a Housing Support Officer at The Flying Angel and in those days it was supported housing in shared and self-contained units. Our Chauntler Close estate next door had only been open for two weeks. As long as I’ve known the organisation, Look Ahead has been responsive to changing community needs, and has strived to meet them. I was happy to be a part of that change.

I’ve had quite a few different roles since 1995.

I was seconded to a deputy manager role in Camden in 1998. This job gave me the opportunity to take part in the then government’s Cold Weather Initiative (CWI).  Look Ahead converted an old job centre into a shelter with warm beds, communal areas, leisure activities and hot food for people experiencing rough sleeping long-term. Being able to help people off the streets and out of the freezing weather where they were at risk was certainly a highlight of my career. Better still, I got to do it all again the following year in Westminster when we set up a shelter in a huge old home office building.

Being part of the CWI was a fantastic experience, but I spent my favourite time of all in Look Ahead’s large Central London homeless hostels. I started out as a deputy manager in Princess Beatrice House in 2000, but I then became housing manager working across another two hostels in Aldgate and Westminster. These were huge projects where we managed the services well and really made a difference to lots of customers’ lives. Later on, there came a time when we had to close the hostels in favour of smaller services, and I played a part in the decant of all three hostels.

Things are quite different for me now. For the last 10 years, I have been the income manager at head office based in the landlord services team. I work with customers on issues around their tenancies, from welfare benefits, to managing rent arrears, to resolving breaches of tenancy like subletting, abandonment, and anti-social behaviour.  It’s so important that customers receive support with paying their rent and welfare benefits- it’s key to them sustaining their accommodation with Look Ahead and moving on positively. This is what keeps me motivated – good housing management is as important as the support service we provide.

The work I’m doing is as relevant now as it was 28 years ago. Sadly, there are still lots of people who need our services today. But I’m truly proud to have played my part in Look Ahead’s story and I hope many of the customers I have had contact with over all these years remember me in a positive way.