Hi Laura! Could you start by telling us a bit about how long you’ve been at Young Futures and what it is that you do here?

I’ve been at Young Futures for about 13 years! This has been on and off, I was initially a keyworker, then I left for a while, to work in a bar. I then had my first child and came back in an admin role. I went off and had my second child and it was after this that I came back into my current role which is overseeing the health and safety of our community flats, and the welfare of our young people. I’ve been doing this for about 3-4 years.

How does your day start?

I check in with the CEO and the Community Manager and get briefed on any issues or concerns which may have come up over the week or get a debrief related to any incidents which have occurred. I then check in with the community keyworkers if they want to request any visits which are required. It’s really important that I get an update of how our young people are doing, to determine the approach of my visit, one size doesn’t fit all.

What’s a typical day like for you?

My days are split into two parts. If it is the designated time of the month for health and safety checks, the first and third Monday/Tuesdays of the month, I’ll get a list of the flats and go and do health and safety checks. This includes checking the whole flat for damage, checking if anything is broken, testing the fire alarm, I also take a few photos for our ongoing records of the upkeep of the flat.

The second part of my day will be ‘unannounced visits’. These visits take place for a range of different reasons: it might be part of the support that your social worker has requested for you, I might do a welfare check if your keyworker is on annual leave, there might have been a complaint from a neighbour, or I’ll visit if you’ve been reported missing.

There are lots of smaller things that are part of my role too. I do Ikea shops to furnish the flats, during the pandemic I was also dropping off PPE and refilling the hand sanitiser for each flat. I drop off care packages, I sometimes have to support with laundry if a washing machine is broken. I also coordinate Wi-Fi set up and electric/gas meter changes and top-up. I link up with maintenance quite a lot, exchanging information related to maintenance issues.

What would you say is one of the most challenging things about your job?

It can be challenging if there is resistance to an unannounced visit or health and safety check. I then need to highlight that this is a training flat and that I can’t always let people know when I’m going to visit. If I don’t get a response when I initially knock on the door and I have to enter, then I will always call out to make you aware that I am coming in. I always try to be as respectful as I can. I never want to upset or annoy anyone by entering your flat, but I also have a responsibility to ensure it is a safe space for you to live in.

Another challenge is that I don’t always know what I’m going to find on the other side of the door, e.g. if a pet has been reported, I don’t know if I am going to find a baby rabbit or a killer dog! If a party has been reported, I don’t know if I’m going to find you and two friends playing a bit of music or a party of 30 people!

What is one of the best things about your job?

I love it when a young person is at home when I visit their flat, and I get to have a chat with them. It’s great to hear about what is going on for them, I love to see the change between when someone moves into their Young Futures placement compared to when they are ready to move out into their own property; or when they move over from Yvonne House and have already come so far in their journey to independence.

I love it when a young person is really welcoming. It’s really nice when trust and a relationship is built, a young person was recently moving on and they were desperate to show me pictures of their new property, which I loved seeing!

How does your day end?

I hand back over to the CEO and Community Manager about anything that has come up that day, then I check in with the community team. Finally, I head home to see what’s waiting for me behind my own front door,- with the chaos of two kids it could be anything!