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“When you work with young people, every day is different”

Ricky works at one of our 16+ services and raised money to support our work by taking part in a cycling challenge event. He enjoys making a difference to young people’s lives.

Did you always want to work with young people?

My plan was to work in sports science after graduation, but I have always worked in coaching roles with children and found it enjoyable. I volunteered in a children’s home, loved it, and never looked back!

What drew you to St Christopher’s?

I read lots about the organisation online and like that there were different services all over the country. I felt that St Christopher’s would enable me to develop my understanding of the pathway that young people follow when they leave children’s homes. They’re a reputable charity and looking on their website showed me that they focus entirely on the outcomes of young people.

What is a typical working day like?

What I really enjoy about working with young people is that every day is different. At the 16+ supported housing service where I work it all changes from one day to the next. Some days the diary is packed with appointments with professionals or taking young people to meet their social workers. I plan weekly and monthly activities that young people can earn AQA qualifications from and arrange informal and formal key work sessions. And of course I interact with the young people when they’re around!

Now I am a Team Leader I have to delegate to the team, raise practice issues and be available on call. I work closely with my line manager and help with recruitment, rota planning and supervising staff.

What do you hope that young people get out of working with you and St Christopher’s?

I hope young people can see the passion my colleagues and I have for supporting them to make positive changes. I hope they can confide in me and that they feel at home and safe in our care. We don’t always see an immediate impact on the young people we work with but I like to think that at some point in their lives they may reflect on something that we have said or done and realise that it made a difference.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your role?

It was a challenge to adapt from working with under 16s to young adults who are getting ready to move in on their own. Children in care depend on staff a lot and you are seen as a parental guardian, but in supported housing they have a lot more independence.

I also took part in the Nightrider cycle challenge in June 2016 to raise money for St Christopher’s supported housing services. the first two sectors of the 70km bike ride were quite challenging but in the last leg from Tower Bridge to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park I could feel my energy coming back, so I pushed myself further. I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I passed that finish line, but it was definitely a challenge to get there!

And the best satisfaction?

Knowing that young people enjoy working with me, trust me and believe that i can make a positive difference to their lives.

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