Barnaby’s story

After over 15 years in the private sector, Barnaby has found his passion for helping others in his new career with Look Ahead.

Barnaby is now a Contract Manager at our new mental health service in Lambeth

“Seeing how much of a difference my team is making to the people we support has been inspirational”

Before I joined Look Ahead, I had had a very different career. I’d spent over 15 years at Land Rover, working as a General Manager. It was a good job but I started to feel I was doing the same thing month in, month out. I needed a change, and I wanted a job where I felt I would be making a meaningful difference.

I was interested in working in mental health and was encouraged when I read a case study from a Support Worker on the Look Ahead website who had come from the same sector as me.

I joined Look Ahead in December 2014 as a Support Worker in a mental health visiting support service. I found this work rewarding, not to mention extremely different to what I’d done previously! I quickly learned that I was in a position where I could help effect real change for the people we support.

I progressed to become a Team Leader before successfully applying to be Contract Manager for a new mental health service in Lambeth providing a 12 week programme helping customers achieve their goals. Whether it’s helping with practical problems, social issues or any worries that may be holding them back, we work in partnership with local mental health teams to find solutions that work for each person.

Seeing how much of a difference my team is making to the people we support has been inspirational. One customer I supported said that I had helped him a great deal but I had never told him what to do, pressured him or made him feel guilty if he didn’t feel up to something. He said this approach had really helped him reduce his alcohol use; outcomes like this are the reason why I joined Look Ahead.

There are a lot of opportunities to learn and grow at Look Ahead and I’ve had the benefit of some fantastic Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) training which I completed early this year. Not only has the ILM given me a recognised qualification, it has also helped me understand my management style and get the best from my team. This has a positive impact on the support that we provide for our customers. Look Ahead has definitely had a positive impact on my life too.