I came to this work with a personal background of rough sleeping and addiction. On moving to Kent in 2006, I was given an opportunity to work at what is now the Catchinglives’ Day Centre. I am now, more by luck than judgment, in overall charge of the operation of the charity. These roles have given me the opportunity for personal growth and led me to going back into education. I am now a BACP registered Counsellor specialising in work with young people and a trainer in a variety of disciplines.
My role at Catching Lives is as an outreach worker, supporting homeless individuals in the Canterbury area. This can involve building a rapport with people who, for various reasons, choose not to access our centre with the goal being to work towards them accessing our services. It can also involve accompanying clients to appointments, such as at hospitals, GP surgeries, work interviews and to view housing. I also take a lead on securing items, such as furtniture, that can help clients make the transition from rough sleeping to accommodation.
My role is to primarily work with the clients who access our centre and to support the General Manager with the day-to-day running of services. I also take the lead on supporting the students who join us on placements.
I am from Canterbury and, after finishing studies at the University of Kent, began volunteering at Catching Lives in June 2013 as a kitchen volunteer. I enjoy working for Catching Lives as we are a charity that takes a holistic view of individuals, understanding that everyone is different and that people often have many overlapping support needs that cannot be addressed separately.
I work two evenings a week as a youth worker at the nearby Thanington Neigbourhood Resource Centre, a position which is paid for by Catching lives in order to engage with young people in our community in a positive way. I am also involved in helping to organise (and take part in) many fundraising activities, such as abseils and sponsored walks.
Mental Health Specialist
I have worked as a psychiatric nurse for over 35 years in many different settings. A large part of my career has been working with people with drug and alcohol problems. I have worked for various charities and have specialised in rehabilitation services.
Mental Health Specialist
I trained and qualified as a psychiatric nurse in 1987 from the Lawson School of Nursing, St Augustine’s Hospital, Chartham. Since that time I have worked in a range of statutory mental health settings including in-patient, residential adolescent unit and the community. I have also worked in the voluntary/charity sector as a senior support worker and managed a day service focused on vocational rehabilitation for adults with short and long term mental health issues.
I have a diploma from the University of Kent in Dynamic Psychotherapy Skill and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art. I recently completed a Level 3 award in Education and Training at Canterbury College: part of my role within Catching Lives is training new staff and volunteers in Mental Health Awareness.
I take a lead on client work and the running of our daycentre at weekends, and also currently work two days in the week. I joined Catching Lives in 2014 as a Project Worker for the Canterbury Community Shelter, completing evening and overnight work.
Client Data Co-ordinator
Originally I’m from Canterbury, but I have always travelled around. I’ve held a variety of posts in retail management; a wide range of admin posts – from scheduling engineer workloads, to supporting Scenes of Crime. I also worked in Brussels for a number of years as a Recruitment Consultant in a Secretarial Recruitment Agency. Whilst having a career break to raise my children, I launched a successful dressmaking business.
After relocating back to Canterbury in 2010, I found Catching Lives. Initially I began volunteering in the kitchen. Then in 2014 I was offered the position of Client Data Coordinator.
My responsibilities include managing all of the client data, including inputting/updating, producing and analysing reports. As Catching Lives grows, and our client base fluctuates through changes, it is my job to make sure that the way we store and report data evolves too. So I am constantly evaluating the data we collect making sure that we are reporting trends, whilst ensuring that all data is held effectively. As a consequence I am currently rebuilding our client database to ensure that all of these needs are met.
I also help on Outreach – as this gives me client contact, which I do enjoy.
Lastly, I love my job – why wouldn’t I? I chose to be here as a volunteer to begin with!
As the Centre’s Volunteer Co-ordinator, it is my responsibility to manage and support all aspects of the Volunteering experience, both inside and outside of our Open Centre.
As a relatively new role, the introduction of my position demonstrates how the Charity is always evolving to improve its approach to caring for its local community and client base, a fact I’m very proud of.
I had previously been Volunteering for Merton Council Assisted Living service, in-between working within the Commercial Private Sector and living in London, and made the life changing decision to relocate to Kent in January 2018; working here for Catching Lives has been a huge part of that life change, and I feel genuinely lucky to be part of the Catching Lives family.
However cheesy it sounds, I’ve become a huge believer that time is the greatest gift anyone can give, and getting to look after a such a diverse Volunteer base filled with people of all backgrounds and ages, and to witness the difference they all make to our clients every day, really does get me up in the morning.
I came to live in Canterbury with my three children in 2016 from Germany via Hong Kong – my previous homes. My current role is Mentoring Coordinator with the goal (through the help of a great group of volunteer Mentors to guide) of supporting our clients who have moved into accommodation to settle successfully back into a self-sufficient life.
I am passionate about volunteering as it has been a big part in my upbringing. I quickly came across Catching Lives where I volunteered in the kitchen, supported the Winter Night Shelter and moved on into Project Work (before then joining as a paid staff member in my current role).
I have found Catching Lives to be a wonderful organisation with a special place in the Canterbury community. The team works incredibly well together and creates a positive atmosphere in helping the homeless in the city.