This week we’re giving you an insight into our dedicated female supported accommodation service, near Stoke-on-Trent’s city centre. We work with women to design and deliver tailored support plans to help them meet their individual needs, hopes and goals. It’s all about building a sustainable and concrete future.
We wanted to share a typical day in the life at the service, but there’s no such thing! Every day can be really busy, with plans changing to make sure our customers are always at the heart of everything we do.
We sat down with Service Manager Mariana, who oversees the female scheme, to find out more about what a 24-hour period can look like.
Every morning starts with a handover from the night staff to the day team. This usually lasts for around an hour to give everyone enough time to talk about all the achievements and challenges of the previous night.
As well as discussing customers, staff use handover as an opportunity for peer-to-peer support between themselves. Our teams are passionate about what they do, but when you’re making homelessness history, there can be challenges. Handover is a chance to catch up with colleagues, talk about any issues and offer support and guidance before a brand-new day.
After handover, staff are ready for the day ahead. They’ll check the communications log and diary to make sure they are up to date with every customer on their caseload and aware of any upcoming appointments.
All our female service Duty Practitioners carry a small caseload of customers. Some customers also have a Service Coordinator for extra support. Customers meet with their Service Coordinator each week to discuss any challenges they’re having and how they’re getting on with their support plan. Service Coordinators also work with external agencies to provide well-rounded and trauma-informed support.
After getting up to date, staff will move on to completing safe and well checks on customers and the property.
During these safe and well checks, staff make sure that customers have the chance to engage with them on a one-to-one basis. Different times work for different people, so our teams make sure that customers know we’re always available for a catch-up, whenever they need us. If staff don’t get the chance to catch up with customers at the service, they’ll get in touch with them in other ways, either at another time or over the phone.
One of the ways we support customers is by helping them to get them into more of a routine, co-designed between them and the team. We encourage them to come together with staff and other customers while carrying out normal day-to-day tasks. In the morning this includes making breakfast, brewing a pot of coffee and washing the dishes.
During the day, staff support customers in accessing external services. This includes health appointments and different courses. At Concrete, our customers have access to Live and Learn courses. There’s lots to choose from and they help customers develop different skills to help them as they move towards independent living. They also have access to peer support through our peer mentor scheme.
We also use the daytime to invite different organisations to our female service to bring their amazing support directly to customers. This includes some of our incredible Destination:Home partners, including Changes: Health and Wellbeing, who visit the service every week.
The female service team work hard to create support plans for women that build their confidence and self-esteem. That’s why we have strong partnerships with local organisations who believe in our mission and understand the impact that trauma has on women.
Staff also complete regular compliance and health and safety checks to communal areas and customer’s rooms. They have a responsibility to make sure the building is well-maintained and the property is safe, secure, clean and to a high standard.
There’s a high demand for female services in Stoke-on-Trent, so it’s important that our rooms are turned around as quickly as possible. We are committed to getting women in need off the streets, so rooms are turned around for new customers as a priority, on the same day they become available.
Staff make sure that rooms are clean and tidy with fresh bedding, toiletries, new clothes, comfort items, a welcome diary and food. We want women to feel safe, secure and comfortable as they settle into their new home and start their new chapter with us.
Our staff arrange themed mealtimes, as well as movie nights with hot chocolate and popcorn. Evenings are all about having fun and encouraging customers to have a laugh and a joke with other customers and staff. We want to build up positive relationships, build on social skills and encourage a healthier routine, with a bit more structure.
Towards the end of the day, it’s not unusual to hear gentle music playing throughout the female service. Our staff encourage the evenings to be quieter, with lots of time to relax, wind down and reflect on the day.
Our female service welcome packs even have a ‘settling in diary’ for new customers to complete each day. They can write down how they’re feeling and think about everything they have achieved so far.
As night draws in, it’s time for more safe and well checks and a handover to the night team.
Overnight staff have time to complete outstanding tasks and check everything is in order for the next day.
Our team offer a listening ear and lots of reassurances, making sure that the women we support are kept safe all night. If our staff need extra guidance, there’s always support from the on-call manager.
Team Leader Mariana compares the night shift to a beehive. Our Waking Night Staff are like bees, quickly and efficiently working away to make sure everything is ready for the next day.
When the sun rises we’re ready to do it all over again!
At Concrete, our work never stops. We work around the clock to offer welcoming, safe and comfortable accommodation to women. It’s all part of our mission to make homelessness history and we couldn’t do it without our hardworking team.