Working in Accommodation – testimonials

We have incredible teams within all of our accommodation provisions at YMCA Trinity Group. Find out more about some of these staff members and why they enjoy their roles so much.

Carmen – Accommodation Project Worker in Ipswich

“I’m an Accommodation Project Worker in Ipswich and have been working here since April 2019, supporting young people living in our provisions.

Back in 2012, I moved into YMCA as a young person in need of supported accommodation due to a breakdown in my family relationships. I can remember feeling extremely anxious about moving into supported housing as I had never experienced living independently away from my family. When I first came on-site, I was greeted by my Project Worker and was reassured about the support I would be gaining from living at YMCA, the rules and security including 24/7 staffing and CCTV. This eased my anxiety and allowed me to feel calmer about the situation that I was in and to open up more to my Project Worker about what support I would need and any future goals I had in mind that we could work towards.

As a young person living independently it can be very overwhelming with the amount of change that happens from living in the family home to becoming independent. There are many responsibilities that a young person will gain from not living in the family home and I feel that if I had not had my time living at YMCA then I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Living at YMCA also gave me and my family the space needed to build back our relationships which are now stronger than ever.

During my time at YMCA I learned many life skills that have helped me massively in my adult life. I gained knowledge and experience managing and paying bills, went through budgeting plans on how to manage the remaining money for the month, learned daily skills such as maintaining accommodation cleanliness, laundry, cooking, and shopping. All of these I still use in my current daily adult life and I feel confident in being able to complete these successfully which is something I never thought I could do when first moving in back in 2012. I also gained my first job whilst living at YMCA and I was supported in updating my CV, applying for the role and discussing transport and wages and had continued support from staff after I had started my employment.

Since moving out of YMCA I have been grateful for the support I’ve received and wanted to give something back to this sector by working in this industry. In 2019, I saw that YMCA were looking for an Accommodation Project Worker, I applied, and fortunately I got the role! I knew that my own personal experience would be extremely beneficial in my role and has it has been very helpful in many situations when supporting my caseload of young people.

When I talked to the residents about when I lived at YMCA, they said they felt reassured as I had gone through some of the same experiences as them and I could relate on some levels to their individual situations. I’ve also helped to support our young people by attending support sessions with their worker, working with them to set future goals and how to achieve them, and being on hand during their low days when they are struggling with their mental health. Some residents can feel very stuck in their accommodation and find it hard to move on from YMCA, however I’ve shown them that they are more than capable of moving on positively and achieving their own personal goals just like I have which I find can reassures their anxieties.

I have built very positive relationships with the residents and enjoy being their Project Worker, providing the same support I received when I was their age. I show them that they can achieve whatever they put their mind to and watching them achieve their goals is an unexplainable feeling of enjoyment, seeing the smile on their faces is what pushes me every day.”

Mihaela – Accommodation Administrator in Cambridge

“I chose to work for YMCA because I enjoy being part of an organisation which has a positive impact on the community, especially on young people’s lives.

Queen Anne House provides a dynamic, diverse and friendly environment where I feel valued and respected. My job position as an accommodation administrator is engaging and rewarding.

Every day is different and provides a new challenge. I love being part of the hardworking and dedicated team, where everybody is helping our young residents to accomplish their life goals.”

Susana – Accommodation Project Worker in Cambridge

In March 2021, with the help of The Cambridge Building Society, we recruited Susana into a new role within our Accommodation team at Queen Anne House to provide support and guidance for young people who are ready to ‘move on’ to more independent living.

Having a specialised move on worker, has meant that the rest of the team have been able to focus their attentions on the young people needing their support while Susana has been able to spend time understanding the move on options available for young people varying from visiting other supported accommodation provisions in Cambridge, and who they cater for, to building relationships with private landlords and helping to combat misconceptions some have regarding young people claiming income benefits.

“I have settled well into the team here and have hopefully taken some of the pressure and workload from the project workers by specifically concentrating on helping young people prepare to move to greater independence and Resettling them in their new home.

I got to know the young people, their needs and move on goals and how I can support them in achieving those goals. Some realise they need continued specialised support systems in place which we can sign post and refer them to, and some young people learn the skills and knowledge they need while living at YMCA to move on to more independent living in the Cambridge area.

Going forward I will continue building relationships with any organisations, agencies and providers offering appropriate safe housing for young people. I intend to raise awareness within our community, local councils, and members of parliament to highlight the difficulties young people face when trying to access affordable, safe housing in order to improve the housing prospects for young and vulnerable people in Cambridge.”

Carolyn – Accommodation Administrator in Peterborough

“I’ve been employed as an Accommodation Administrator at YMCA Time Stop in Peterborough for over 2 years now. The role is varied, no day is the same which is why I enjoy it so much.

My working life here is different to anywhere I have worked before. I work alongside the Project Workers and the Accommodation Manager. I feel a sense of belonging here with its difference and uniqueness.

I can be “me” and express my feelings too which is a position I have never been in before throughout my long and varied career.”