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Nadine | Faces of Futures

Posted: February 28, 2024

Nadine, Service Manager at Bruntsfield House, Edinburgh

Hello! My name is Nadine and I am the Service Manager for Bruntsfield House Homeless Service in Edinburgh. I started with Hillcrest in 2017 as a Support Worker at Bruntsfield. I then became the Assistant Manager for Lauriston in Leith and St. John’s Hill in November 2019, and in May 2023, came back to Bruntsfield as their Service Manager.

The support we provide at Bruntsfield is centred around what the person’s wants, wishes and needs are. It’s so important to be encouraging of the small victories whilst also recognising people need to go at their own pace. I think giving people options and choices in all aspects of their life is what generates the biggest impact. It’s about letting people know that saying “I’m not ready for that just yet” is perfectly ok. Not every day at work is easy or runs smoothly, but if you are able to bounce back as the worker and continue to ensure that positive relationships can grow, adapt and change over time, then the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference to that person.

I started working in a homeless accommodation in 2014 when I was studying at uni. I had taken on the role of Engagement Officer where I was responsible for providing individuals with meaningful activities and supporting them with independent living skills. Due to my own art background, I was able to provide a variety of creative workshops teaching different art practices. I slowly started to realise that the people I was working with meant so much more to me than what I had originally set out to do. So, I started working in Paisley in 2016 doing a similar job but in an outreach and community capacity.

In 2017 I decided to move to Edinburgh and secured the Support Worker Role at Bruntsfield. I’m incredibly passionate about the people we support and helping them to achieve the right outcome for them. I think homelessness is such a unique part of social care to work in as you need to know a little bit about absolutely everything. I’ve supported people into work, volunteering, long term supported accommodations and into their own tenancies. I support people with family reunions, arranging visas,  organising DNA tests,  accessing college and even securing funding for driving lessons in the person’s first/own language. The support we provide involves liaising with a wide range of professionals and agencies such as solicitors, GPs, psychiatrists, police, courts, recovery services and so on.

Team work is sometimes the most important and beneficial part of the role. Being there for each other as a team can be the make or break of a service. We all bring something different to the role and all have our own experiences and beliefs, our own weaknesses and strengths, and working collaboratively ensures the best outcome for the people we support. We work in partnership with not only the other Hillcrest companies, but also the local councils and specialist organisations to ensure that each person is supported to the highest standard and advocate for them when needed.

I’ve always felt supported by my colleagues and management.  I enjoy that we utilise a person-centred approach when working with our staff as well as the people we support. I have supported staff to find their own niche and  develop in the role, whilst also experiencing and exploring other opportunities available to them.

If you’re able to have empathy and understanding for people, then you are capable of doing the job.  It’s not necessarily about how you feel and what you gain from it – it’s about the people we support and any impact this has on my own feelings is just a nice wee bonus.

I was personally really struggling with having a good work-life balance after the pandemic. It felt like it had all caught up with me and my mental health was poorly affected by this. I was supported to put in a flexible working request which allowed me to reduce my days and hours which allows for me to better manage my own wellbeing. I also accessed the counselling service provided by our health benefits and found this really helpful too.

I encourage my team members to utilise their annual leave hours in a way that makes sense for them. Discussing working habits that could aid to improve their time management, meaning they will overall have a better work-life balance.

The unique relationships I have had with residents over the years are often associated with some of the funniest things I have ever experienced and some incredibly heart-warming and joyful moments.