"I feel I've completely come into my own"

Home Works Officer

I can honestly say it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I’m proud that I can help make a difference in people’s lives. It’s such a rewarding job, it really is.

My dad works for a homeless charity but he used to be an area manager for a housing association. His work always inspired me and I wanted to get into the housing sector. I wanted to follow in his footsteps.

I have been working for Home Works for just over two years. We’re empowering people to live an independent life which is amazing.

I came across an advert for Southdown, and their values and aim as an organisation really attracted me. Having that person-centred approach, coaching people to live a life they want, is brilliant.

As a worker, I have a case load of 18-20 individuals and families - a variety of clients who range from crisis to needing resettlement support. I meet them weekly in the community or in their home and assess their needs, creating a person-centred action plan. We look at what they want to focus on and go through how they will achieve their aspirations, signposting to other services as necessary.

Working in partnership with other services is vital to ensure we provide the best support. It’s good when we all work together.

Each day is very different and that’s what I enjoy. No day is the same. I can sometimes see five clients a day ranging from a complex situation to someone who needs a little bit of guidance and motivation support. Some days, I can spend a lot of time gathering information for one case.

Making a difference is one of the main reasons I am in this job. It can’t always happen, but knowing we can support someone to grow and change is brilliant.

When clients have someone to support them, it gives them a great sense of achievement. It’s so rewarding to see how coaching can help and make a huge difference. For example, just yesterday I supported a new client with severe dyslexia complete a referral form on his own and the smile on his face was amazing!

Another client of mine was at crisis point with housing, ex-partners, and fleeing domestic violence. She had given up on herself. We’ve supported her for a few months now and I’ve seen such a change in her – her behaviour, her mental health, her attitude. She feels she is starting to get control back in her life and for her children.

She said that with all the support she’s received, myself and other female professionals have been an inspiration in her life. She’s turned a corner. She has started to believe in herself. Having someone listen to her and believe in her has given her the confidence to make changes.

My approach with clients is to sit and listen and reflect back, asking them, ‘What do you think you should do?’

The impact Home Works has on a community is huge. If Home Works wasn’t around there would be a lot of people at crisis point with nowhere to turn. It has a massive impact on individuals and families, and knowing that there is a service that can guide them through challenges and processes is important.

I can honestly say it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I’m proud that I can help make a difference in people’s lives. It’s such a rewarding job, it really is.

We’re all human and we should all treat each other with respect. We all go through struggles in life. We’re not here to judge. We’re here to support.

I feel I’ve completely come into my own. I feel like people recognise my abilities and I’m open to expanding my responsibilities.

I’ve been encouraged to be myself at work. I don’t have to be anyone else. And that has really improved my confidence. Being who I am has enabled clients to have trust in me and my work.

I’m realising that I love a challenge, whereas before I didn’t and I felt out of my depth. Now, I can manage any case better. I feel very confident that I can support a client and signpost them.  I’ve also been asked to be an Employment Champion and I’ve taken on a Hospital Discharge role for Home Works.

Without my team, I wouldn’t be where I am. I have an amazing team. If I’m struggling or need support, they are there for me. They are just so supportive and everyone’s approachable.

I’m surprised by how far I’ve come. It’s changed my outlook on life – to not take life for granted.

 

Home Works is our housing support service in East Sussex. It provides focused support to people aged 16 to 64 years. Clients may be single people, couples or families who are at risk of losing their home, have no permanent home or need help to live independently.