Name: Lyn Elrick
Job: Co-ordinator Company: Home-Start Aberdeen
I like to be the first one up in the household. It’s great to have some time to myself before I chase my daughter off to school and my son out to work. Before I go, I remind my partner Mark to drop off some donations to the Home-Start charity shop for me.
I arrive at the office around 9am, grab a cup of tea, then settle down to check emails and my schedule of family visits. That done, I’ll jump in the car to meet my first family. The families we support are located all over the city, so every day takes me somewhere different.
At Home-Start Aberdeen we carefully match our families with their own home visiting volunteer. My job as a co-ordinator is to ensure that this relationship is working well on both sides. During our meeting, I’ll chat with the family about how they feel things are progressing and agree any actions or additional support that they’d like put in place.
On my return to the office, I’ll write up notes for their family file and contact other agencies who might be able to assist with any specific needs. Home-Start Aberdeen works closely with a variety of other local agencies, including Aberdeen City Council’s debt support team, housing department and health visitors, as well as fellow charity Somebody Cares and local foodbanks.
The other side of my co-ordinator’s role is supporting our volunteers. I therefore often use any remaining morning time for a support and supervision session with one of the 22 volunteers who I am responsible for. We meet every six weeks to review progress, chat through any training requirements and deal with administration such as travel expenses.
I usually try to make it back to the office for lunchtime. We’ve recently moved to larger premises in the city centre so the team are continuing to enjoy the luxury of eating together in our new kitchen. It’s good to take some time out with colleagues to catch up on their news and plan our next social gathering.
In the afternoon, I’ll often attend child protection case conferences or core group meetings. Both of these events involve discussions between groups of professionals and parents to agree measures that will ensure their children are safe and receiving the best care possible. These meetings are challenging but important.
My role is to highlight the family’s progress with Home-Start Aberdeen and to involve the parents in agreeing a plan of action for their children. Another benefit of these meetings is that all of the represented agencies can ensure that we are working together as efficiently as possible and there is no duplication of effort.
On my return to the office, I catch up on the progress of our current projects. Home-Start’s core activity is support for families in their homes, however we also run a number of specialist projects.
These include baby massage to encourage child and parent bonding, and Recipe for Life to develop food budgeting and preparation skills. A number of the families I look after benefit from these initiatives.
Evenings are usually spent with my family. I also love baking and often bring a batch of cakes or biscuits into the office with me.
Tonight, however, I’m delivering a session as part of our latest volunteer induction course.
The course, which all of our new volunteers complete, has eight sessions in total and we share the session delivery between six of us.
I finish around 8:30pm with the happy prospect of a half-day tomorrow – time off in lieu is very much encouraged.