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A day in the life of life skills and participation

Alex oversees the life skills and participation team at St Christopher’s. Her main focus is supporting young people to prepare for independence and making sure they always have opportunities to have their say on the issues they want to talk about.

What drew you to St Christopher’s?

So many reasons. I had met children and young people who had lived in St Christopher’s services or been fostered through them and they had always talked so positively about the organisation and the care they received. You can’t get better than a recommendation by the people that use your service! But what really made me start thinking about working at St Christopher’s was when I heard about their life skills work.

What did you do before St Christopher’s?

A lot of different things in many different places but always working with people. I have worked with adults with learning difficulties helping them to develop different life skills, taught sex education in South America, and had various roles in hospitals and as a teacher in a pupil referral unit. More recently I lived in a tent by a beach in Devon managing a centre for children with acquired brain injuries.

Did you always want to work with young people?

No. I had lots of ideas of what career I would like as I was interested in lots of things but had always wanted to work with people. But it wasn’t until I started working with children and young people that I realised how much I wanted to do it and how lucky I was to have found such a rewarding career.

What is a day in your life at work like?

Incredible. I get to be involved in all the fun things that are going on at St Christopher’s. I spend lots of time with children, young people and staff coming up with ideas for activities like an upcoming dodgeball tournament on trampolines.

It’s really varied – one of the best things about my job is that I get to meet and work with everyone from St Christopher’s and get involved in all the different types of work they do. Some days I am out playing football, others I am delivering staff training, making resources for life skills sessions or checking paperwork so that young people can receive AQA awards for their different achievements.

It’s also surprising. I love that part of my day involves asking children and young people what they think or how they want to do something. I am constantly surprised and impressed with their different ideas that are often better than the ones that I had thought of.

What is the biggest challenge you face every day?

The biggest challenge for me is leaving at the end of the day. Sometimes I can be enjoying working on a project at a service so much that I don’t want to stop.

And the best satisfaction?

The best satisfaction for me is when I work with a child or young person on a project and then whatever the outcome of the project – be it a report, interviewing someone for a job, or a making video – all their skills and talents shine through and they are seen by the adults in their lives as people in their own right.

What are you most proud of?

Right at this very moment keeping the last strawberry plants I planted in the spring alive.

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