A SHIFT IN THE EMERGENCY ASSESSMENT CENTRE

Hi, my name is Janet and I am a Project worker with the Care Society working at the ‘Night Shelter’ in Aberystwyth, I have been in post for getting on for two years now and I love every minute of it.

It is difficult to give an example of a typical shift at the ‘Night Shelter’ because there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ shift!  Two shifts are rarely the same and can be totally unpredictable but I will try and give you an idea of what a shift could be like.

When I arrive on shift I will do a quick check of the building to make sure everything is ok and there are no problems with the property and/or equipment etc. if any residents are about I just check in with them to let them know I am on shift and ensure they are ok.

I check with my colleagues, who will be on shift at 2 other locations, that everything is ok with them, I will then phone the on call Manager to let them know that we are all in and that all is Ok. If there are any problems I will discuss it with them and we will run through possible options to address the issues.        From that point on things can vary dramatically from day to day!

Our residents can be from any walk of life and come into us through the local Housing Options team based at the Council and can be with us just over night or can be for several weeks.  We may also get telephone calls from the Emergency Housing Team who work out of hours to find accommodation for people who suddenly find themselves homeless for any number of reasons.

When we have a new resident I always make sure I introduce myself to them and make contact with them when I am on shift, offering a friendly listening ear, maybe help them to understand processes that sometimes seem complicated and intimidating, help guide them in the right direction to find information and/or services that they are interested in or need, explain what the Care Society can help them with and how their Support Worker can help them  or it may just be a general chat about absolutely anything.   Our residents often open up to me about any number of subjects which sometimes can be very personal and it is a privilege to be trusted with such information and why I feel it is important to remain non-judgemental. We really have no idea what some people have had to deal with in their lives and it can be easy for some people to be led down the wrong path which can feel impossible to escape from.                          With our help as a team it is possible.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We have had some very interesting people through our project and I can’t put into words just how satisfying and rewarding it is to know that in some small way I have contributed in helping to get somebody back on the right path and to see them go from strength to strength, it is just the most amazing feeling!   Sometimes of course, it isn’t so easy and we may see the same people come into us more than once for any number of reasons, but I never give up on them. They often feel that society has given up on them and they just think that there is ‘no point’ in trying, just to be knocked down again, but I do try to encourage them and let them know that we don’t all think that way.  There is something rather satisfying about walking down the street and to be greeted so warmly by ex-residents.

Whilst on duty I will also clean the communal areas. I try to involve residents where appropriate and if they are willing, I find that they generally like to help and it makes them feel good, creating a more ‘homely’ environment.

A shift will often include kind members of the public dropping off donations of bed linen, clothes or food which we gratefully receive, Also Aber Surplus and various shops and cafes will donate food too, which we will distribute around all of our residents in various properties and to anybody we find sleeping on the street if they want it.

We are the emergency contact for several properties and we will deal with such things as a fire alarm going off, someone losing their keys, electricity tripping out, problems getting gas or electricity to come on, it could be an argument that has got a little out of hand, or any number of problems that may arise, you never really know what may happen.

We have a good relationship with the Neighbourhood Policing team and they will often knock the door to see if everything is ok or on occasion they may want to question a resident or take a statement. I may sometimes be needed to sit with a resident while a statement is taken.

We may have notes left for us from day staff, possibly to ask us to check on a resident that they have concerns about, or help them complete paperwork that they haven’t been able to get done during the day, or it may be that we have to access a new resident.

As a night Project worker I not only work evenings but during the day at weekends on a rota basis, this gives me the opportunity to meet and/or chat to residents in the other properties we manage, which is good as I could be called out to an emergency there anytime or for any other issues that may arise.

                                                                                                       I am proud to work for the Care Society!

     A little about me …

        My name is Chloe, I’ve worked for The Care Society for a little over 3 years now.

        I am a support and outreach worker and also spend much of my time in a project specifically for young people which we run in Cardigan.

        I take great pride and enjoy my job thoroughly, this is due to the variety within the role, no two days are the same. It can be challenging at times                            but that’s what makes the role all the more rewarding, especially when we  receive positive feedback:

                                       “The Young Persons Project has helped me massively in the past year with out it I don’t know where I’d be.                                                                                              Its helped so many other people as well.The staff are amazing and they are here to help… whether it’s                                                                                                      sorting online problems like college or just simply going on a weekly shop they help whenever.”

         Knowing that we are able to make this difference to individuals’ lives and give them opportunity to gain their independence and achieve their                               goals, well it really does make this one of the best jobs you can have.