How you can change lives through supported living
- Credit: Sanctuary Supported Living/Stephen Waller
Sanctuary Supported Living offers quality support and housing across England. We hear from three of its staff members working in a variety of roles in the local area.
Supported living is a vital part of adult social care across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, providing specialist support to people with learning and/or physical disabilities, mental health needs, as well as young people and homeless families and individuals, helping them on their pathway to independence.
What’s involved may surprise you; it’s rewarding, varied, and comes with many opportunities for personal and career development – and, with the right values, attitude and training, you can help change lives.
“Any preconceptions I might have had were blown out of the water.”
Project worker Alice, 26, has worked at Sudbury Young People’s Supported Housing for three years, originally employed as a waking night worker. The service has two sites in Sudbury which provide support for vulnerable 16- to 21-year-olds, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Alice’s role is all about making a positive impact on people’s lives, working side-by-side with them to rebuild their confidence and realise their potential so they can move on to live independently.
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Despite no previous experience of working with young people, Alice found everyone really welcoming and her previous career as a care assistant was relevant.
She said: “Alongside training in areas such as safeguarding and health and safety, the team were so willing to teach me – and the residents know that we don’t always have all the answers, so were very patient.
“There can be such a stigma surrounding homelessness, particularly with young people, but any preconceptions I might have had were blown out of the water.”
Alice has also completed her Mental Health First Aider training and is excited about starting her new role, following a recent promotion to deputy local service manager.
“It’s been such a learning curve but I’ve enjoyed every moment. I am looking forward to the next chapter of my career.”
“Working here has changed my life for the better.”
Michelle started her career as a bank project worker at Witham Mental Health Supported Housing service in 2017, before moving to Nickleby Road in Chelmsford, which supports adults with learning disabilities. She went on to become local service manager in March last year, shortly before lockdown.
Michelle’s key responsibility is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the residents and staff, which has been particularly challenging during the Covid-19 pandemic, as many residents found it hard to understand social distancing and lockdown rules.
Her team works with residents to build their self-confidence, achieve their personal goals and increase their life skills – such as cooking, paying bills and maintaining a tenancy – all so they can reach their aim of living independently.
She said: “When you are in someone’s life every day, you don’t always realise the impact you’re having – but it’s the little things that remind me how supported housing has the ability to completely turn someone’s life around – and I don’t just mean the residents, working here has changed my life for the better as well”.
“I have always been given excellent opportunities to develop and achieve.”
Becky is clinical lead nurse at Montague Road, a CQC-rated ‘Outstanding’ nursing home in Felixstowe, which provides nursing care and support for people over 55 with mental health needs.
Becky has worked at the home for six years and, as well as being a registered nurse, leads on moving and handling training, and develops specialist resources for other services.
As a registered nurse, her role requires her to deliver clinical care to residents but in a more informal, homely community setting. She has experience in areas including infection control, phlebotomy and drug administration, and enjoys working within a happy, supportive team.
She said “I count the supportive work environment as one of the most valued parts of my job. Throughout my career, from nurse to manager and now clinical lead, I have always been given excellent opportunities to develop and achieve, have been able to talk and feel included, and this has really helped me.”
Could a career in social care with Sanctuary Supported Living be right for you?
There is a range of full-time, part-time and bank roles available across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, including at specialist services for people with learning and/or physical disabilities, mental health needs, young people and homeless people. For more information, to see the latest vacancies and apply, visit