Our Director of Development and Communication, Paul Hardman, recently undertook his second shadowing visit of the year, this time in Scarborough. Here is his report:

Scarborough Visit – May 25th

This was the second of my shadowing trips out to a service (having visited Darlington earlier this year) following the kind invite from Kira Lumb (Support Worker) and Anne Rivers (Service Manager) to visit the Scarborough service and in particular Poplar Villa.
The train trip from Manchester is quite long up to Scarborough but it allowed me to collect my thoughts and also look over the pictures and stories on our website that Kira shares about activities and events taking place at Poplar Villa.

My day with the team in Scarborough started with a team meeting.

Cal (Carl) and the team discussed the cases of over 30 customers, to check on their situations, progress etc. As with my recent trip to Darlington I was immediately struck by the enormously varied, complicated and in some cases deeply troubling situations and lives many of our customers have.  Considering this brings into focus what a massively important job our colleagues do every day. Reports from the team were varied and included; masked people breaking into customers’ homes, families of our customers having detrimental impacts on their lives and mental health, through to the unfortunate tale of a drowned mouse… Interspersed throughout were great stories of stability and recovery, supported by customers going to college and finding work. Overall I reflected on the way home on an incredibly complicated mix of the good the bad and the sad. I also reflected on the impact that hearing these stories on a daily basis must have on our staff and the emotional resilience required for their roles.

Following the team meeting I was taken by Kira and Dave to the new hostel

that is being developed in Scarborough by a local developer. The teams and our customers will move into the hostel later this year. WOW, what a building! A fantastic resource for the area and for customers! The investment by the developer is clearly immense and it was great to see and hear about the level of input our staff have been able to make in terms of ensuring, where at all possible, that the building and conversion is fit for purpose. It is going to be a great asset for Foundation to use and a fantastic place for the young people to live.
The rest of the day was spent at Poplar Villa which was a fabulous experience for me. Once again Kira was generous with her time, giving me insight into the backgrounds of some of the young people I met during the day. It was also great to listen and talk to the social work student, Maria Stones, who was hugely passionate and committed to helping the young people in the hostel make a better life for themselves. Really great and inspiring.

I was fortunate to sit in with Kira and Maria all afternoon as they had meetings the young people in the hostel.

In all cases the professionalism of both Kira and Maria was plain to see. They were inclusive of customers, yet clear and firm where this was needed, balancing the careful use of language and direction with listening and tolerance. Overall I think the young people I met are hugely fortunate to have Kira and Maria working with them. I felt it was reciprocated in terms of the respect customers had for them both.

Overall a fabulous and humbling day,

which eventually led to a train back to Manchester via broken down train at Huddersfield. However, a day with colleagues in Scarborough brings home so clearly that I have very little to complain about (and much to be thankful for). There is a great deal to admire in the people we work for and the challenges they face every day, and equally for  the fantastic work our staff deliver daily for people with such turbulent and challenging lives.