A day in the life of a Recovery Work – Apply today

Right now, we are looking for someone like you to join our team in Northampton where we support people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health problems. Are you caring and compassionate? Looking for a role where you can make a real difference to people’s lives every day? Welcome to Richmond Fellowship as a Recovery Worker. In this blog post, we take you through the day in the life of a recovery worker.

A typical day at Richmond Fellowship? To be honest, there isn’t one. One of the best things about this job is the variety. When you are arriving for your shift you are never sure what is going to happen. One day you will be helping people develop the skills to live independently, the next you could be interacting with healthcare professionals developing their care plan or maybe you will gain further qualifications through Richmond Fellowship’s training scheme.

To start the day the team meets for a handover from the previous shift. This is an opportunity to talk about plans for the day, which person you will focus your time on and sharing out tasks. The handover paperwork is completed to make sure we don’t forget anything. We’re commissioned to provide these services and our commissioners have expectations. We must keep records making sure the building is a safe place to live and work. These tasks are built into the shift leaving plenty of time for getting out and about with the people we support. Then it is off to see if anyone needs a hand to get up, washed, dressed, and ready for the day.

Once breakfast is finished it is time to plan the day. Each person has a set of life goals and it is the job of a recovery worker to encourage them to work towards those goals. For example, someone may have a goal to find a relationship. We break down that goal into smaller, manageable chunks. To meet someone special they may need to join groups and activities. With that in mind, you would spend time together searching out groups of interest and building up their confidence to attend. It is easy to see how each day can contribute to achieving that long term goal.

This job is all about supporting people to do things their way. It would be easy to give people a list of local activities but that takes away from helping someone learn how to search and find activities and events that suit them and their interests. That can all take time and it must be done at a pace to suit the person or the journey to becoming more independent is interrupted. Bringing ideas and suggestions for the people who live at the service creates a real buzz when we find something new to try.

You don’t need to have loads of experience of recovery work or of learning disabilities, autism or mental ill health to be good at this job. Richmond Fellowship provides a lot of training to develop the technical knowledge but this job is all about building relationships with the people who live in the house and your colleagues. If you have the basic values of kindness, patience and compassion everything else can be learned.
There may be appointments to arrange and attend. There are often visits from other professionals who are involved in people’s lives such as care coordinators, nurses or psychiatrists. You will talk with them and the person you support to develop their care plan or take the next step on their recovery journey. There are families and friends to spend time with. You will need good communication skills and a positive attitude to meet all these people. This job is all about providing as much or as little support as needed to make sure that people are living the life they choose.

The end of the day tends to be focused on preparing for bed and encouraging good sleep. Sleep is an essential part of being well for everyone and developing healthy sleep routine is a great way to get the best out of the next day. After you leave you can do some shopping with the exclusive discounts for Richmond Fellowship employees or maybe cycle home on the bike provided by our cycle to work scheme.

It can be a demanding and full-on job. It requires a lot of energy to stay motivated and energetic even when people are lethargic and disengaged. You won’t be on your own. Richmond Fellowship is a team and there is a lot of support for this role including training, monthly supervision with your manager, and team meetings. There is a staff council so you know you’re views will be heard at the top. It is essential to make good use of all of these tools to keep your batteries charged and the ideas flowing.

World Suicide Prevention Day – A Personal Story

This World Suicide Prevention Day we hear from a member of our Life Links staff about their recovery journey, the support they got to overcome suicidal thoughts and their work now to support others.

My experience with mental health started long before I was a volunteer at Life Links. As a child, I grew up a witness to domestic violence in the family home. My Mum was a victim of domestic violence from her partner at the time for many years and growing up I lived in a very controlled environment. This hostile way of living continued into my early teens, when they eventually separated. This had more of an impact on me than I could understand as a thirteen year old girl still trying to understand herself.

At the time, I struggled with coming to terms with their separation and the adjustment to a life without being controlled. Painful memories plagued my mind daily and my emotions were difficult to manage. This led to very unhealthy coping mechanisms such a self harm. I also became an insomniac, sleeping for two or three hours a night. I ate very little, often only having one meal a day.

On November the 12th 2010, I threatened to end my life.

On November the 12th 2010, I threatened to end my life. I had a plan and I was certain I wasn’t going to be here anymore. Thankfully, for me my Mum found out and she got medical advice from my GP. It was then that it was best decided that I would go into a Mental Health Unit for adolescence as an inpatient for two weeks.

It was there where I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and in the hospital was the first time that I had felt safe in a long time. When I was discharged, I went to live with my Dad and my step Mum and begun the journey of healing. I have always been very fortunate to have an incredible support network of family and friends that empowered to believe that Mental Health Recovery is possible.

I spent a lot of time adjusting to life after my hospital admission. I went to school on a part time basis to allow me to adjust and focus on my recovery as at the time, I was attending weekly counselling sessions. It was in these sessions that I grew as a person, empowered and charged with the belief that life would get better and it did.

It was in those sessions and also reflecting on them afterwards that really helped me to understand the importance and impact the relationship between the Mental Health professional and the client can really change a persons life as it completely changed mine. For the first time in my life, I was in an environment where I felt safe in sharing my emotions. I developed a strong sense of trust and security in myself and others.

For the first time in my life, I was in an environment where I felt safe in sharing my emotions. I developed a strong sense of trust and security in myself and others.

After two years, my counselling came to an end but I was armed with all that I had learned about myself and I was finally able to move forward. I started attending school full time and by the time I finished school in year 11 I left with 6 GCSE’S and the world at my feet.

I was almost certain that I wanted to work in the Mental Health Field, but I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to do. I did a two year course in Health and Social Care which then led me to complete my dream degree in Psychology.

During my degree, it was then where I began to question whether I wanted to or would be able to work in the Mental Health field. I questioned whether it would be something I could manage emotionally due to my past experience, or whether it would be an asset in enabling me to help others.

That is when I found Life Links sat on a computer in the library at University. I was looking for volunteering experience as part of my degree and I thought that in order to see whether the Mental Health field would be right for me, I could volunteer and that way I would know.

So, that’s exactly what I did. I sent a copy of my CV and cover letter to Shannon and the next thing I knew I had and interview and then, I was a volunteer and a passionate one at that due my past experiences.

I grew in so many ways through my volunteering experience at Life Links, but mostly in confidence.

I grew in so many ways through my volunteering experience at Life Links, but mostly in confidence. At the beginning I wouldn’t answer the phones on the information line out of fear that I would say the wrong things and the idea of delivering workshops was absolutely petrifying.

It took some time, but with encouragement from Shannon, staff and the other volunteers I begun to build my confidence and before I knew it, I was answering the phone without even thinking and delivering a workshop begun to feel natural. I actually found that I really enjoy public speaking.

Life Links provided me with the environment to grow, trust in myself and my own abilities and rocket in confidence. I took every opportunity that was given to me, including delivering a series of recovery education workshops at Recovery College and taking part in an OCN accredited training course in which I received an accreditation for.

The more I learned about the job role from the Recovery Workers, the more it felt like the right route for me as Richmond Fellowships values are very much in line with my own. Volunteering with Life Links made the decision for me that the mental health field was right for me and that my own mental health experience would only be an asset in understanding and helping others.

So, once I finished my degree in which I obtained a 2:1 classification there was much to my delight a job opening as a Recovery Worker and here I am. I don’t think ever in my life I have felt like I fit in like I do with the team at life links.

I don’t think ever in my life I have felt like I fit in like I do with the team at life links.

The supportive and encouraging atmosphere shows me daily that this is the right place for me to be and the experience of working with my own clients and seeing their progress is rewarding, not just for me but in how I feel for them. As I hope to empower my own clients in the way that I felt in powered within my own Mental Health journey.

Throughout my journey with Life Links and a volunteer and now staff, I have seen the demand for the service continue to increase and I have seen first hand how beneficial the service is for those who use it. Today is a celebration of staff, volunteers and service users and I feel incredible humbled to be a part of Life Links.

Post lockdown tour of our services

Since lockdown has started to ease, Jo Schofield, our Head of Operations in the North, has taken the opportunity to visit several services and see for herself how staff and people we support have been getting on.

In this blog, she tells us more about these visits and what they tell us about our staff’s commitment to Making Recovery Reality, and how proud she is of how well staff and people we support adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic

Moor View (Care Home)

Yesterday was a great day for me. As Head of Operations for the North, I have always been out and about visiting our services but due to Covid-19 that hasn’t been possible since March 2020. However, yesterday I ventured out to my first service visit since lockdown. I visited Moor View our registered care home in Halifax with 24-hour nursing. Upon arrival, I was temperature checked and offered disposable PPE.

Even though I was at Moor View for a meeting with colleagues, I took in the environment and was impressed with the cleanliness of the building. I introduced myself to two staff who I haven’t met before and they told me that they felt safe in the workplace, they felt well informed and supported. Whilst I have heard daily about the good work that is happening in services, there is nothing quite like seeing it for yourself!

Our frontline workers have continued to go into their workplace and adapted their home life to ensure they are as safe as they can be to continue to support the people that use our services.

Today I really felt such pride for everyone I met at Moor View. Not only our frontline staff for their awareness and alertness around Covid-19 but also the people living in our services. It was obvious to me that a lot of work had taken place to educate some of our residents about keeping themselves safe and respecting personal space and maintaining a safe distance with our staff and other residents and visitors to the service.

Trevayler (Crisis House)

Continuing on my visits to services to see how things are going on the frontline during the pandemic, last week took me to Trevayler. Trevayler has two elements; a transitional unit for people moving from a hospital setting and also a crisis house for people experiencing a mental health crisis that require some interventions to prevent a further relapse in their mental health.

As I walked down the drive, I could see what has now become a familiar sight when visiting Richmond Fellowship services; the colourful rainbows in the window that residents and guests had coloured to represent “hope” during the pandemic.

On arrival I was told that I was entering a Covid-19 free zone and asked if I had had any of the identified symptoms, which I confirmed that I had not. I spent time walking around the building and viewing an area of the building that will be transformed into a Crisis Haven over the coming weeks.

There were six staff in handover and I talked to them about how they felt coming into work on the frontline during the pandemic. They collectively told me that this was their job and that they did what they do. At this point, they felt very supported and said that  Richmond Fellowship had done everything possible to make sure they were safe.

As a senior leader in the organisation, I came away feeling proud of the staff working at Trevayler and how they had made adjustments to their lives to ensure the safety of those they support.

There are no words that can describe my gratitude of those working on the frontline to ensure that people we support continue to get the support they need, when they need it.

Tower House (24 Hour Supported Housing)

Last week, my service visits continued. I went to Tower House which is a 24 hour Supported Housing Service in Chester.

Upon arrival I couldn’t hide my smile as I saw the window covered in rainbows acknowledging “hope” during the pandemic. Residents engaged with craft sessions to decorate the window; joined in the clap for carers on Thursdays at 8pm and knew the importance of keeping themselves safe to reduce the risk of falling victim to the virus.

As I was shown around the beautiful building I met resident after resident who kept a safe distance and wore their face masks when they were in communal areas. One of the residents I spoke to explained that they had COPD and therefore was exempt from wearing a face mask but told me that they weren’t going to take any chances and was happy to wear one to keep everyone safe.

The three staff on duty spoke to me about how the residents have responded positively to changes within their living environment and how to start with it was extremely difficult but with lots of education about the Coronavirus and additional support offered, residents had responded really positively. They were really proud of how the residents had adapted during this really difficult time.

I came away from Tower House feeling confident that the staff and residents were working together to keep the service operating in a safe way and that the safety measures in place were not intrusive, but a true reflection on how the virus is being taken seriously within the setting.

What these service visits have shown

These service visits have reinforced what I already knew about our amazing staff and people we support. Throughout the entire pandemic, staff have shown resilience and commitment to our mission: making recovery reality. Even when the country was in a state of crisis, every staff member I encountered radiated hope and respect. They were all focused on enabling the people we support to achieve their goals even in the most adverse external circumstances.

As lockdown measures continue to change, we will keep working with staff and people we support to adapt how our services operate. We believe that everyone has a right to participate fully in society, and we will always ensure our services are running – whatever challenges the future might hold.

Richmond Fellowship marks #InternationalMensDay

Richmond Fellowship marked International Men’s Day on Monday 19 November by shining the spotlight on men’s mental health, male victims of domestic abuse and celebrating men who work in the charity sector.

In the UK, suicide remains the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 and according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales from the year ending March 2017, around 713,000 men experienced a form of domestic abuse.

Across the day we shared some videos of Matt’s recovery journey on social media.

Matt received support from Richmond Fellowship’s 24 Hour Supported Housing service in Stowmarket, Suffolk after his mental health was affected by years of domestic abuse at the hands of an ex-partner.

We also shared Oliver’s story. Oliver’s just joined our Cambridge Employment service as an Employment Advisor. He spoke about why he made the move to work in the charity sector.

Derek Caren, Chief Executive of Richmond Fellowship said:

“It’s really important that men feel empowered to talk openly about issues affecting them. Topics such as men’s mental health and male suicide are areas that need to be targeted in a considered way. The fact that one in four men feels the need to take their own lives in avoidable circumstances is of great concern. At Richmond Fellowship we provide a number of crisis support services across England and on the Isle of Wight. I’d urge anyone who feels vulnerable to reach out”.

Glen Poole, UK coordinator of International Men’s Day said:

“I’ve been really inspired by the stories shared by Richmond Fellowship on International Men’s Day. It’s important to see a national mental health charity raising awareness of some of the issues affecting men today, such as men’s mental health and male victims of domestic violence”.

You can watch the videos on Richmond Fellowship’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Richmond Fellowship marks #WorldMentalHealthDay 2018

Richmond Fellowship’s been marking World Mental Health Day (10 October) by showcasing our services and getting out and about in local communities.

James Cartlidge MP alongside Mayor of Sudbury Sue Ayres and our Sudbury team

On social media, we’ve been shining the spotlight on our Crisis, Supported Housing, Employment, Residential, Social Enterprise and Community Based services across the week with a different video each day.

See the videos on our Facebook page.

The Recovery Focus Group launched its ‘What Does Recovery Mean To You?’ video showcasing some of the amazing recovery stories from across its partner services.

Elsewhere our local services have been out and about around the country.

For example, in Sudbury, our team set up a stand in the local market to raise awareness of the work of the Supported Housing and Community Based service in the area. The event was attended by the local South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and Mayor of Sudbury Sue Ayres.

Down the road in Cambridgeshire, Anouska Binns, Team Manager at our Fenland Wellbeing service was interviewed by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire breakfast show presenter Dottie McLeod about the range of services available in the local area. Listen to the interview below.

Meanwhile on the Isle of Wight, our team there arranged a resilience session in partnership with POA Learning.

Natalie Bevan, Isle of Wight Locality Manager said:

“Working for a mental health charity we always want to support those using our services as best we can, but sometimes it’s easy to forget about taking care of ourselves. The resilience training from POA Learning was a helpful reminder of how to help take care of ourselves in a very informative and easy to understand way”.

In the North, our Derby City Life Links service was featured on BBC Radio Derby. Locality Manager Christine Lawrence spoke on their drive time programme about the launch of the new peer support and recovery service. Listen to the interview below.

Remember, at Richmond Fellowship every day is World Mental Health Day.

To find a service in your area, see our find a service page.

Could you volunteer for our Leicester Life Links service?

Our Richmond Fellowship Life Links service in Leicestershire is currently looking for volunteers.

We provide a wellness and mental health recovery service tailored to meet individuals needs.

Our information, advice and navigation services can help find community and digital resources that will help to achieve your recovery outcomes, make independence more sustainable and provide support in developing support networks.

Our community recovery support is available as an individual or as part of a wider group and can be provided at a local community venue. The support we offer focuses on strengths, needs and future aspirations.

Volunteers will be working alongside staff to provide support to those experiencing mental ill health through our information, advice and navigation service.

Volunteers will be delivering this service via a phone line and monitoring our website. This will also be provided out in the community at our open surgeries and at events. Another opportunity we have is becoming a Peer Support group volunteer. This includes helping to facilitate peer support groups for those who have lived mental health experience. These opportunities are a great way to get experience working alongside those experiencing mental ill health and is extremely rewarding.

We need people with empathy, excellent listening skills and a non-judgmental attitude. You do not need any previous experience as you will be provided with full training and an opportunity to develop this further if you wish. We need reliable volunteers who are able to dedicated a minimum of 6 months of their time to our service.

We welcome volunteers and really appreciate their commitment and efforts as they are essential to the services we provide. Continuous support is provided.

For further information or to apply please email: VolunteeringinLLR@RichmondFellowship.org.uk.

Good employment is good for mental health

Blog post by Steve Smith-Trask, Managing Director, Richmond Fellowship (South)

Everyone likes to complain about work – yet employment is proven to give us many personal benefits beyond a salary. From a social network to social status, developing self-esteem to developing new skills, employment is good for us. Being out of work can increase the risks of ill health and disease, and can have a particularly negative effect on an individual’s mental health.

Yet, studies have also shown that 1 in 6 employees are currently living with mental health problems; a study by Mind shows that fewer than half of these people feel able to tell their employers. The theme for World Mental Health Day 2017 is mental health and work, a pressing issue in today’s society.

That’s why employment services are one of the five types of support we provide at Richmond Fellowship. With 28 employment services across England, whether someone needs support to find work or to retain employment, our employment advisors provide individualised support for people living with mental health problems.

What does that mean in practice?

Our employment advisors get to know the person, not the CV.

It means that we don’t have targets to meet or quotas to fill. Instead, our focus is on the individual. We work with each person who uses our service to develop a plan based on their own strengths, experiences and goals, being mindful of the mental health problems they are living with. Our employment advisors get to know the person, not the CV. We believe that people using our services can achieve their goals, and we see our role as supporting them. It’s not a tick box exercise. It’s about working together to achieve each person’s goals.

At Richmond Fellowship, we believe that good employment is good for health. What that looks like will be different for each person. We don’t make assumptions about the kind of work that would be suitable for them. For some people that may mean an entry-level job; for others, that may mean a senior management position. Part-time or full-time, permanent or contract work – we work with you to help you achieve the outcome that is right for you.

Good employment is good for health.

It’s crucial that the people who use our services guide their own experience with Richmond Fellowship and have full ownership over their action plan. To help achieve this, we have recently developed a new web app called Aspire. Created by digital production company Mindwave Ventures, Aspire is a flexible, intuitive, and easy to use online portal to help us better support people in the digital age. Aspire allows people who use our services to work collaboratively with their employment advisor to build their action plan, track the steps they are taking, and tick off goals as they are achieved. We’ve had really positive feedback from our piloting of the scheme, and are rolling out across all of our employment services soon.

At the heart of everything we do is the belief that good employment is good for mental health. Our role is to empower the people who use our services to achieve their employment goals, and live their best life.

 

Richmond Fellowship teams up with leading learning disabilities charity to promote inclusivity

Richmond Fellowship has teamed up with CHANGE, a leading learning disabilities charity, to take part in Don’t Shut Me Out! a three-year Comic Relief funded project which aims to improve inclusivity and accessibility to mental health services for people with learning disabilities.

Today, Thursday 6th July 2017, as part of its ongoing partnership work with CHANGE, Richmond Fellowship is pleased to publish a series of new easy read literature that is available to all members of the public and the individuals it currently supports across the country. Read more

Our commitment to your information

IG buttons full set horizontalInformation is something we handle a lot as a national mental health charity, a lot of this being personal and sensitive in relation to the people we support, our staff and the organisations we work with.

We know it’s really important that this is handled carefully and held securely in our systems, which is why each year we run an awareness week for our staff.

The awareness week will involve posters in our services and offices across the country, giving our staff and volunteers a handy booklet with guidance about information governance, and talking about our shared duties throughout the week to make sure everyone’s up to speed.

Information Governance is a framework which brings together legal rules, guidance and good practice to ensure that we can be trusted to handle information in a confidential and secure way. It’s something all our staff and volunteers are responsible for so we make sure they’re all informed, trained and prepared so that we can avoid any information breaches.

Contact us for more

Blue Monday trivialises depression

Blue SparkyNational mental health charity Richmond Fellowship has hit out against ‘Blue Monday’ for trivialising depression and other mental health problems.

Blue Monday – the third Monday in January – has become known as the most depressing day of the year in mainstream media with the day being attributed to returning to work after the Christmas break and the cold weather.

But with one in ten people living with a clinical diagnosis of depression, Richmond Fellowship, which is part of new national group Recovery Focus, is taking steps to remind people about the reality of living with a mental health problem every day of the year not just ‘Blue Monday’. Read more