I am a Support Worker at Look Ahead’s mental health rehabilitation service in East London. Before I started working for Look Ahead I was actually a customer myself – I received support from one of their floating support services.
During my time as a customer, I got involved in their Peer Support programme, volunteering my time to support customers going through similar situations. I really enjoyed helping people who had similar experiences to me.
My Support Worker encouraged me to take it further. I completed my NVQ in November 2015 and started working as a Support Worker full-time. My service supports eleven customers who have high mental health needs.
I really enjoy my job. Getting to watch someone grow and move forward with their life is great, but it can sometimes be difficult if one of your customers relapses. You have to be prepared to handle the good and the bad. If I do have a difficult day, the rest of my team are always there to offer their support.
“I really enjoy the variety and flexibility of what I do”
One of the highlights of my job so far has been supporting someone who has been at my service for two years (and previously homeless for 12 years) to now really engage with his support and even set up his own art club. As a Support Worker, no two days are ever the same, and I really enjoy the variety and flexibility of what I do.
Having personal experience of being in a service and receiving support means that I can better understand what the customers I now work with are going through and the best ways that I can help them.
It also means that I can see things from both sides – the perspective of the person delivering the support and also the person receiving it. This means it can help me to challenge things if I see things aren’t working.
Since starting work with Look Ahead I have discovered that I have a lot of determination to progress and I feel like I get a lot of support from the organisation to do this. I am already thinking about studying for the next level of my NVQ and one day I would like to become the Contract Manager at my service.