28 months later...
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The heading sounds a bit like the movie sequels 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, but that’s where the similarity ends, because this is neither a horror nor a thriller…
The journey itself is gripping, highs and lows; the ending like most stories is a positive one, and something that has helped me in my personal journey as a support worker.
Just a note that ironically the 28 theme continues throughout parts of this story….
So roll forward 28 months – I was doing my weekly shop the other day when I bumped into one of my old customers, someone I had floated off 28 months ago, following a successful programme of support, here at Bromford.
This young person was one of my first ever customers, I was delighted to have bumped into him and anticipated news on how the family are doing. I knew when we floated him off he had the right ‘tools’ to continue on a positive path.
When I first started working with the family, there were in a very negative situation and required intense support:
- They were facing eviction from temporary accommodation due to rent arrears and they had been served a 28-Day eviction letter.
- His partner was approximately 28 weeks pregnant.
- Due to stress, anxiety and depression the customer was on a large amount of medication.
At the time I was fresh into Support Work and immediately knew from the referral this case would be challenging. After guidance from my line manager we managed to keep the customer in temporary accommodation by setting up a payment plan with the local authority.
Although the customer was still worried about how the family would survive with yet another outgoing payment; after a support session on budgeting we managed to map out where we could cut costs and even make a potential small savings at the same time.
From here we were able to complete a part-6 application for Birmingham City Council, after an intense conversation with the Assessing Needs Team; we managed to get the application fast tracked.
We assisted the customer with bidding and before we knew it the family had a successful bid accepted and subsequently secured a property, funds were then secured via community care grant and charity applications, to enable them to purchase furnishings, this took approximately four weeks or more or less 28 days.
Once the family moved into their new surroundings, they became settled, my customer slowly became a different person, a positive person and, most importantly, a happier person. Slowly but surely his dependence on medication reduced with assistance from the GP; he managed to cut down the medication by two thirds.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for a person to develop and grow; the basic needs must be met – namely shelter, food, warmth etc. This statement holds a lot of truth in the work we do as Support Workers. You really can see a customer grow once they secure a tenancy (they become more grounded), you can see personal growth and development take place; the customer can then meet other needs like education, training and employment.
Eventually the customer was floated off as he became independent. After bumping into him I found out that he has been working full-time in retail, saving money where he could. He is also expecting a second child, and he tied the knot with his partner a year ago and they are happily married.
Brimming with pride he told me he is planning on going to university next September to study Bio Medicine, and that his life couldn’t be happier.
The meeting made my day, as Support Workers I think we live for genuine success stories. This customer was at a low point when we first started supporting him and to see the man that he has grown into is so empowering to me.
Young people really are the future – sometimes assisting someone in making a positive decision can all come down to you telling them ‘they can’.
Post support contacts always make my day, especially when things are going so well for the person, knowing that you were part of that customer’s transformation, journey, growth and development is a great feeling, one that I cannot describe.
Author: Khaleel Ali – Support Worker
Photo used under Creative Commons thanks to Joseph Novak