My Working Day: Complex Needs Worker

I am a Complex Needs Worker, who delivers support as part of the Women’s Lives Leeds Service. This project has a unique alliance of eleven women and girls organisations from across Leeds. Between us we have specialisms in domestic violence, mental health, sexual health, sex work, trafficking, substance misuse, child sexual exploitation and education. The project launched on 1st November 2016.

Early morning: Rise and shine! “MOMMMMMYYYY!!!” OMG! I have 2 alarms you see if the 10-month-old doesn’t get me up in the morning then my 5-year-old usually jumping into my bed does.

Well I start off by sorting out the children with their morning routines, wash, breakkie, milky, nappy change and then outfits sorted. Babygrow is fine for the baby but my 5year old (going on 15) must look her best for her Zoom school classes. After we all eat it’s setting up my 5-year old for the day with her tablet and school pack on her little table with plenty of snacks and drinks. I log her onto Zoom to start her class and I hand over my baby to the husband. Off I go to my little office in my room after putting a load of laundry in the washing machine.

Morning: Switch on my work phone. Read all my texts, whatsapp messages, check all the voicemail start replying or calling. I am usually then replying to emails or chasing up solicitors or other professionals. Usually it is advocating for my client regarding a social worker decision. I am usually leaving messages and calling several times. I then am chasing banding up with housing, requesting housing assessments due to their banding being too low or they have not been assessed yet. I then login to the housing register and call the client to bid on a property for them. I then usually spend a few minutes updating records and doing any outcome monitoring with clients that have had support for more than 3 months. I then have more calls with clients and usually it is making a referral to apply for furniture due to either it being broken from a domestic abuse incident or the client having moved after fleeing domestic abuse. I then usually read some notes I have received from MARAC regarding a client and start the actions. I usually end up answering a call just before lunchtime that I think will be 10mins but how can you put the phone down when the client is telling you they have no food for the weekend and no heating whilst having a new-born baby that is poorly already, because her ex-husband has made a fraudulent claim and moved the benefits to his name and she has not been paid anything this week.

Midday: The husband at this point is usually kind enough to make me some lunch along with a side of work that he did with my 5year old to check before I upload it onto the school app. I am then kindly asked 100 questions related to the work set by school and end up helping my daughter with phonics and the art work as daddy apparently can’t help as good as mum (secretly inside so happy). As I eat lunch I usually start to call the interpreting services as they usually are on hold for 20mins I leave it on speaker whilst I finish my lunch and upload all the work my daughter has done so far before the other mum that lives on my street uploads her son’s work that is in the same class as my daughter, (competitive is an understatement – but I win as she said she is unemployed at the moment…hhhmm imagine what my daughter would be capable of – if I was also unemployed – I promise I am not competitive…muhahaha…)

Early afternoon: I take my cuppa with me to my little office where I continue to be on hold to the interpreting services whilst I start my food parcel application for one of my clients. I then do a conference call with my client that doesn’t speak English when the interpreter finally answers. I am usually on the phone for an hour due to the translation delay. I have another list of things now. I then either reply to some other calls that I have missed whilst being on this call or I start to call my colleague to ask for some ideas and help with this client. I then make a referral to Money Buddies or citizen’s advice for the clients I have with debts going way above £2000. Whilst I make the referral for the debts I am usually on hold to speak with DWP regarding a mandatory reconsideration I need to make for a client that has been given the wrong amount on her benefits. I then reply to some texts or calls I may have missed whilst on the call to DWP.

Late afternoon: I either have a Zoom meeting with my team which will take an hour or two. Sometimes I am typing up my notes whilst in the meeting if I am behind on my notes. I quickly check my secure email inbox to make sure Sanctuary have got the referral I made yesterday for a property to get some target hardening. During the Zoom call I may need to ask my daughter to get out several times as she opens the door and sneaks in to ask me for some help with her school work again because daddy is not doing it the correct way. I usher her out and then get back to my meeting after slamming the door all whilst on mute. After the meeting I then take a break to go to the bathroom or make another cuppa or change a nappy for the baby and give her a quick feed. I then usually need to upload work and help finish off some phonics or art work with my daughter. I then quickly run back to my little office and slam the door again indicating “please don’t disturb”.

End of the working day: I then tick some items off my never-ending list and update all my conversations and work onto each client’s case. I then complete my last one or two week’s timesheets before I get a “polite reminder”. I then send off my expenses and mileage claim if I have any. I delete documents off my desktop that I don’t need or file them correctly. I send some quick text updates if I need to and then switch my phone off. I update and check my diary to see when I am next due to attend a court hearing with my client and what I have on for tomorrow.

I open the door to be greeted with a desperate warm welcome from my family. The husband is usually looking worse for wear right now. The 10month old’s nappy is sagging and the 5-year-old has chocolate all over her top. I take the children off him and go out in the garden for some fresh air or playtime with them before I start dinner. I won’t bore you with the bedtime routines. Hope you enjoyed a snippet of a day in the life of me!

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