Marie works as a Support Co-ordinator for Liverpool and Knowsley Supported Lodgings and delivers Resettlement Passport training to staff from other organisations. Here’s her story and her advice for young people and other support workers.
How did you get into this type of work?
I began working with young homeless people after completing a Youth and Community Diploma at university. I found a charity based company Local Solutions in Liverpool which generates and delivers services to support individuals, families and communities with a primary focus on those experiencing disadvantage, exclusion and vulnerability. There was an opening for a support worker in a fabulous project Liverpool Supported Lodgings housing young people in family styled accommodation and here I am 14 yrs later.
What does your role involve?
My role involves wearing lots of different hats (lucky I suit a hat) as the job throws up lots of different issues. In a nutshell I am supporting young people practically, mentally and emotionally for independent living.
What are the main issues that you are supporting young people with?
Primarily homelessness and getting them somewhere to live. Once in the project we can find that support issues include budgeting and navigating the messy benefit system and getting young people into education or training so as to gain confidence and self belief. Over the recent years mental health has been a big issue and this can range from depression, anxiety, self harm to suicide attempts and it’s about finding services to support them.
What are the biggest challenges homeless young people are facing moving into their own tenancies and how do you support them with this?
Understanding what tenancy ready means and what is involved. How we assist with this is by using the Resettlement Passport which is a tenancy skills course designed by us workers to improve the skills and confidence of vulnerable people, taking on a tenancy. The course is made up of 10 units, covering areas key to sustaining a tenancy. It is fully up to date with sections on Universal Credit, Sanctions and a focus on being ‘shared-tenancy ready.’
What are the most important messages to get over young people moving onto independence?
Don’t ignore letters and if you don’t understand ask someone......DONT LEAVE IT....IT WONT GO AWAY.
What’s your advice for support workers starting out in this area of work?
Keep a good sense of humour for your young people and yourself
And tips for switching off?
Go to the gym in the morning as this will set you up for the day ahead. I always make Friday’s my night for a glass of wine with friends, where I will unwind and empty my mind.
If you were Prime Minister, what’s the one change you would make?
If I was prime minister I would bring back the thought “ITS FUN TO BE YOUNG” and invest in fun.