Housing & Support Officer
Joined Transform January 2016
What does your typical day at work involve?
Today I am seeing four clients. One is standard keywork in the office, he is a new client to me so it will be about establishing a relationship with him and finding out what he needs. After that I am taking another client to see a flat he is hopefully moving on to, which we are both very excited about!
My third appointment is with a client who has been out of work for sometime but is now engaging with a charity which offers proper, structured careers advice. He will get the results of questionnaires he has filled in and I am very hopeful he will finally get affirmation that he does indeed have the skills and qualities that employers are looking for.
My last appointment of the day will be a walk along the canal with a client who is keen to get more exercise. I’m a keen walker and think the benefits of getting out in the fresh air for a chat go way beyond the physical. Strolling side by side can make it a lot easier to communicate than sitting in a small room staring at each other across a pile of paperwork.
What do you enjoy most?
Meeting such a huge variety of people and unpicking what they need from us. I love that every day is different and that things can change at a moment’s notice. I work with an amazing team who are vastly experienced and always happy to share their knowledge so even if I don’t know the answer to something, someone does.
The commitment to training is extraordinary. I have had more training in the last six months than I had in 25 years as a journalist.
What has been your most satisfying experience?
Well I haven’t been here long but so far it’s been lots of ‘little’ things like finally untangling a benefits issue or accompanying a client to an appointment they have been dreading but supporting them through it to get the result they need.
What training and development have you received?
Loads! I have had more training in the last six months than I had in 25 years as a journalist. The benefits training was probably the most crucial for me but I’ve learned about dealing with violence, drugs, motivational interviewing, health and safety amongst many other things. I also have regular meetings with my line manager to make sure I am getting the training I need.
What do you think you have gained personally?
My working day actually has a point to it now. I had been feeling for sometime that I wasn’t really making much of a contribution and was also aware that although I live in the wealthiest part of the country, there was massive inequality on my doorstep and I wanted to do something to help.
What do you think of Transform as an organisation to work for?
No complaints so far. The commitment to training is extraordinary. I have been really impressed with the quality of the accommodation and the emphasis on keeping it that way.
What experience did you have of this sector?
As a journalist I occasionally came across people with housing issues and my brother worked for Transform some years ago so I had a vague idea of what was involved.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of working for Transform?
If you have a genuine interest in people, a pragmatic approach to life and can stay calm under pressure, this could be the job for you.
What do Transform’s values mean to you?
They neatly sum up how we work. Respect is the most powerful one for me. Some of the people I work with have been treated with so little respect that they have no expectation that anything will change for them. They come to us and realise someone thinks they deserve a decent home and the support to live a decent life.