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Push the Button

Joel writes about how the money we receive through donations are able to help those most in need. This post is part of a series of thought-pieces loosely inspired by the music of our youth.

If you are reading this post on our website, you should see a little red button with the word ‘donate’ on it. Do you see it? Tempting, isn’t it…

Have you ever donated money to a charity and… that’s it? You come away from the experience not really knowing what’s going to happen with your donation; money that you have given to a cause you care so deeply about. Here at YMCA Doncaster, we want to be as transparent as possible and inform you of the essential support that your donations allow us to provide.

What people may not be aware of is that – in addition to our charity shop and Community Centre (which are usually open to the public; thanks, Coronavirus) – we have our own Supported Accommodation building. This is where we are able to house up to thirty young people that are in need of support and give them a place that they can call home. They will each come from a completely different background and often lack the support network that most of us take for granted during the most formative years of our lives. It is here that we help to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to prepare them for moving on to independent living.

When a young person moves in with us, it may be their first time living alone. This can be a daunting experience for them and it is our responsibility to make this transition as smooth as possible for them. We teach them the fundamental skills needed for independent living: such as money management, basic cooking and cleaning skills, and simple house maintenance. Some residents may require a lot of guidance in this area, whereas others may only need a gentle nudge in the right direction.

During their stay with us – which may range from a few months up to two years – every single one of our thirty residents receive weekly one-to-one keywork sessions. These are done with our team of trained Keyworkers and help our residents to understand what it means to support themselves independently. We want everybody to live a healthy and fulfilling life and to positively contribute to the wider community. We address any obstacles they may be facing on their journey to this goal and help them to overcome it. This may include us providing the support ourselves or pointing them in the direction of the appropriate services.

However, having a team of skilled Keyworkers obviously comes at a cost. This is where your donations come into play. The money that you donate helps to pay for the services that they provide; allowing vulnerable young people in our local area to get the support that they most desperately need. Otherwise, they would often be forced to stay in toxic – sometimes abusive – environments.

We have been helping the young people of Doncaster for over 160 years now and we want to continue helping future generations of young people for years to come. Without your donations and support, this would not be possible.

If you want to help be responsible for getting a young person’s life back on track, then be sure to click here to donate on our JustGiving page.

No donation is too little and we can’t thank you enough for your support.

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Beating the Boredom

It goes without saying that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on all of our lives. Adjusting to lockdown, with some having to self isolate and shield, not to mention washing our hands vigorously whilst singing happy birthday, not once but twice!

For young people living in YMCA Doncaster’s supported accommodation it has been very strange and one of the worries for them, as for many other people living in lockdown, is the possibility of boredom setting in. Luckily our amazing staff have been on hand to continue support sessions with our young people, as well as providing resources to #BeatTheBoredom and keep our residents minds active.

Some of our young people have begun learning sign language online, others have taken up journaling and writing about their lockdown experience, as well as joining in with online exercising classes.

Weekly quizzes are a regular occurrence at our supported accommodation, along with baking challenges and crafting activities, from origami to chalk drawing. Easter Bunny even dropped by at Easter and left treats for all our young people (and staff too!).

If you’d like to contribute to the work we do in supporting young people who would otherwise be homeless, please see here.

All support sessions and activities are carried out with socially distancing measures firmly in place.

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Day in the Life of a Housing Worker

The Supported Accommodation at YMCA Doncaster is a 24 hour service and therefore, the role of Housing Worker has variable hours, which involves daytime and night time shifts.

Here is a little insight into a typical day for a Housing Worker. One thing is for sure, no two shifts are the same in this role. 

The Handover

The day starts with a handover. The Housing Worker receives an update from the person on the previous shift on all areas of the Supported Accommodation, such as health and safety, security, housekeeping and administration, along with any other information they need to be aware of.

Once the handover is complete, the Housing Worker checks the radio, telephone and CCTV system to ensure they are all in working order.

Patrols

The next thing to do is a patrol. 

Throughout the day, the Housing Worker ensures regular patrols of the building, both internal and external, are carried out. Patrols are essential to the smooth running of the accommodation. The Housing Worker looks for any problems such as damage to fixtures and fittings, health and safety issues and security issues, dealing with them as appropriate.

Whilst carrying out patrols the Housing Worker may carry out essential checks on hygiene, fire and other safety provisions, completing and maintaining the records as needed.

Administration, Security and Housekeeping

Once the initial patrol is completed, the Housing Worker will arrive back at the office to deal with administration such as updating the communication book for duty staff, rent payments from residents and assisting with benefit applications.

The Housing Worker is the first point of contact in the Supported Accommodation, and therefore deals with security and ensuring that residents and their visitors are adhering to the House Rules, including checking visitors ID documents for proof of age.

The Housing Worker is also on hand for residents who have forgotten their keys and require access to their rooms, need access to the communal laundry and for answering and dealing with telephone calls.

Accommodation Interviews and Assessments

Young people wishing to live in the Supported Accommodation must attend an interview and assessment. These are usually arranged for the early afternoon and are carried out by a Hostel Worker and another member of the Supported Accommodation staff.

Interviews and assessments last from half an hour to an hour depending on the needs of the young person. Hostel Workers assist with assessments which help to understand the needs of the young person in regards to support, their background and any personal issues they may have. 

Fire Drills and Room Checks

Around mid afternoon, on the prearranged day, weekly fire drills and weekly room checks are carried out.

When working in the Duty Office the Housing Worker is the appointed Fire Warden and therefore has responsibility for carrying out the weekly fire drill, ensuring that all staff and residents follow the safety procedures correctly.

Another weekly responsibility of the Housing Worker is room checks, which they conduct with another member of the Supported Accommodation staff. Room checks are carried out to ensure hygiene standards are maintained and that there are no health and safety issues or breaches of House Rules.

Young People Moving in and Out

Moving people in and, ultimately, moving people out is also a part of the Housing Worker’s duties, along with the associated paperwork.

Making young people feel at home, providing a welcoming atmosphere and showing them the amenities, such as laundry and explaining the visitors procedure is a critical part of the Housing Workers role. 

There may be a number of young people moving in or out in one day, which means the Housing Worker needs to ensure that they prioritise and arrange their working day accordingly.

Maintenance and Cleaning

As the Housing Worker has the responsibility of carrying out the patrols of the building, and understands it well, it’s quite often that they are the person who recognises a maintenance issue first. 

The Housing Worker will report maintenance issues inline with procedure and, following the completion of the above duties, may be required to carry out small repairs within the accommodation along with cleaning duties.

End of the Day – Handover

At the end of their shift the Housing Worker ensures that the office is neat and tidy ready for the next person on Duty and updates the communication book.

The day is concluded with a handover from the Housing Worker to the next person on Duty. The Housing Worker will provide an update on all areas of the Supported Accommodation, such as health and safety, security, housekeeping and administration, along with any further information the other staff member needs to be aware of.

If you think you feel you have what it takes to join our Supported Accommodation team, please see our vacancies here.

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Hold My Hand

Zoe writes about joining our staff team. This post is part of a series of thought-pieces loosely inspired by the music of our youth.

Babies are SO cute! My sister recently had a baby girl and – as biased as I may be – she is just adorable! She was also my inspiration for this blog. As I sat in my sisters’ house holding her as she slept, she overwhelmed me with the simplest of acts – she held my finger.

Now, whilst bursting into tears isn’t an unusual occurrence for me, the whole ordeal got me analysing why it had had such an affect on me, and more so, what it means to hold hands.

Holding hands is typically associated with romance, love and affection. However, holding hands is something that we do throughout our lives with different people and it symbolises many things such as protection, encouragement, comfort and support.

Unfortunately some young people do not have someone to hold their hand as they go through life, and instead have to struggle on their own.

That is why at YMCA Doncaster we offer a space to feel secure, respected, heard and valued.

We try our best to do this for everybody that we come into contact with, but especially for the vulnerable young people we work with – this is our way of “holding hands” with the most disadvantaged of Doncaster’s young people.

At YMCA Doncaster we are a small, friendly, team working in a variety of roles to help those who are less fortunate, with our biggest current project being our Supported Accommodation.

Our Supported Accommodation is designed to be somewhere that our young people can call home, whilst receiving the support they need to tackle the difficulties they face in the community as young people.

We welcome a variety of young people, all with different difficult backgrounds, and we offer a helping hand to get them back on their feet and become more independent.

Do you have what it takes to work either directly with young people, or provide the essential background services to enable YMCA Doncaster to hold young people’s hands through their difficult times and help them build themselves a better life?

If you think so, check out our website for our current job listings.

Whilst we welcome residents into a Supported Accommodation we also welcome our staff members into a supportive team.

If you are ready to join a team in which you will be valued, respected and supported and no two days will be the same, then YMCA Doncaster could be for you.

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