After 15 years working in retail, I needed a change. I took four years off from working, where I decided to retrain with the NHS to be a health trainer, with a focus on behaviour change. I then left the NHS to enter the supported housing sector, where you get more holistic involvement with customers and have the opportunity to see things through from beginning to end, which was very appealing to me. Now, I’ve worked in supported care housing for over 4 years, working mostly with young people and care leavers in Maidstone and Tonbridge.
Never a dull moment
What I love about my job is the huge variety of responsibilities that come your way on a daily basis, anything can happen when you walk through the door of a service. One minute I’ll be reading the log book, or supporting someone in a community meeting, then I could be registering a customer with their GP, chasing up on someone reported missed, or conducting a mental health session.
You can go from dealing with a major incident to simply having a cup of tea and a chat – all in the span of one day. You can’t make it up!
Building trust with young people
I like to work closely with the customers. Building relationships on trust empowers them to be the best that they can be. It’s all about building their confidence and independence through small, achievable goals.
For example, university applications can be very daunting and usually your parents support you in that endeavour, but our customers rely on us for guidance through the process. Through the trust we build with the customers, we begin seeing those positive results in young people’s lives.
What I love about my job is the huge variety of responsibilities that come your way on a daily basis, anything can happen when you walk through the door of a service.
Watching them succeed
No matter how big or small the achievement, seeing our customers succeed is the ultimate. I get a buzz out of witnessing their progress. I enjoy supporting them as they take big steps in their lives. When one of our customers got accepted in to her first choice of university, I physically went with her to make sure she got fully settled in. She had worked really hard on her GCSEs got into university without any family support. Our customers know that we’ve got their back, we will always celebrate with them and that is great.
I love keeping in touch with customers from a long time ago. Whether we bump into each other on the street or they reach out to us, hearing about their lives like ‘I’m in college’ or ‘I joined the army’ is such a good feeling!
Of course, the job comes with its challenges, and it’s hard to put aside some of the tough stories and experiences that our customers share. But I’m glad to have a great team to help cope with those difficult moments.
We have an open door policy here and the team leans on each other so there is always someone to go to in those moments. I would not be able to deal with the intensity of this work without the support of the team around me.
We also have built good relationships with external support networks like the police, social services, missing persons team and rehab services for young people. It’s all about that teamwork, both in our team and with the services around us.
In the end, I really love the work that I do and the opportunity to make a difference in young peoples’ lives every day.