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Dolores's Story: Positive Impact on Young People

Dolores Hamilton has been with Centrepoint for four years, but has worked with young people for a lot longer. She is a floating support worker and works specifically with care leavers between 16-18 years old. Here she tells us about her role and working with young people.

Dolores's Story: Positive Impact on Young People

My role

As a floating support worker, I go out into the community to ensure that the young people I work with are maintaining their tenancies and managing to settle in the community.

My role is part of Bradford’s Jumpstart Service, helping young people making the transition from supported accommodation or foster care into independent living in the community. As a floating support worker, I ensure that young people don’t feel isolated and know what support they can access within their community.

One of the biggest struggles recently is not been able to have as much face to face contact with young people because of COVID. However, I have continued and will continue to support young people throughout this pandemic.

Supporting a young person to become tenancy ready

It’s about getting the young people ready to move into their own tenancy, looking at their rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and understanding the roles of Tenant and Landlord.

I also go through the Lifewise modules with them – this is a course that provides young people with the practical and personal skills needed to move to independent living. Because all young people have different needs, we look at the modules that would be most appropriate for that particular individual. I also support them with practical skills: learning how to change a plug or a lightbulb, check the meters, that sort of thing.

Once young people have completed their modules, they get a certificate to say they are tenancy ready. This is looked upon more favourably by landlords, especially because of the ages of the young people.

Jumpstart want young people to be able to maximise the income or benefits they get when they move into their own tenancy. If a young person is NEET (not in education, employment or training), I encourage them to think about how they can get to the EET stage, and explain why this is better for them in the end.

Relationships can also be difficult for young people when they move into their own tenancy, particularly going from supported accommodation 24/7 into their own tenancy. The support network that they are used to is no longer there – they can’t just go downstairs and talk to staff. We start looking at what support networks are in their new area; we don’t want them to be moved somewhere where they’ve got nobody.

Important qualities when working with young people

I’m a good listener – I listen to what young people have to say. I’m an advocate for them. That could be for housing associations, social workers or education providers. I support them to become independent and the person they want to be. You need to be there for them and they need to feel that you are. Supporting young people making that transition from child to adult, and it’s important they know I’m being transparent with them. I don’t just tell them what they want to hear.

Best things about my job

It’s lovely to see them so proud when they’ve set their home up. It’s fantastic to see the positive impact I’ve had on young people and see them excel in life. It’s really apparent years later when, you can see how much they’ve moved forward and grown. And it’s lovely when they say thank you.

It’s about trust too. If they’ve had lots of different workers they can lose faith. I always let them know that we work together – it’s a collaboration. It can take months or even years to develop that trust. I have young people tell me that I always do what I say and that’s a good example for them. I just I want to give young people the best that I can.