Katrina is our Deputy Residential Manager, working alongside Neil to support men completing the Six Stage Programme. As well as guiding and mentoring Residents she also works alongside the Café team and is leading development of our new Training Kitchen. Here she shares what her working days look like:
“Before I started this job, I remember reading that Neil was a father figure to the guys here and that genuinely sums up what we do. I play Mum, Sister, Manager, Welfare Officer, Teacher, PA … you name it I’ve probably had to be it and that’s just in the eight months I’ve been here.
“There’s no ‘typical’ day or week in this role really, one minute I could be picking up some fruit as the lads have decided they want to try eating more healthily, then I could be visiting someone in prison. Each day and week are so different. You do have time to plan but you have to be able to think on your feet too.
“Usually, I’m in by 7.15am, we sit round the table with the lads and all have a chat. It gives us a sense of how they are and builds on the family environment that we have here. At 8am I drop them off at their work placements then come back to RL1 and check in on Mark and Danny in the Café and sort out the takings.
“Mornings are fairly routine but after that it’s anyone’s guess. I tend to fill any spare time with establishing new connections or building on relationships we have with other organisations or charities who refer people into our residential. We currently have links with nearly 80 organisations but I’ve a lot more doors that I want to knock on.
“I’m also working with other community groups that can use our spaces. We have a few groups that use our café and once the refurb has been completed, we’re want it to be a real community hub.
“A couple of months after I first started, one of the residents completed his time here and moved into his own place. The pride I had knowing I played a small part in him securing his own flat and a full-time job was immense!
“My passion for working with people and finding the best in them when they can’t always see it themselves is what drives me, even on the darker days. I get to know the person behind the probation reports or ‘homeless’ label – their story, aims and ambitions. It’s hard breaking down their barriers, building that trust, but when you get there there’s no better feeling!
“There are so many barriers facing the guys we support – they feel they have been let down in the past. The residential programme gives them the tools and skills they need to have a stable future. We treat them as equals, we build their confidence and self-esteem and get them to see that, yeah they might have a past, but it doesn’t have to define their future.
“My last job was with a nationwide Enforcement Agency. I’d been doing a degree in psychology when lockdown happened. I had time to reflect on my past and what I wanted to do with my future and decided I wanted to work with those in custody or just leaving custody, so I changed my degree over to Criminology and Psychology and set my sights on my forever career. A few months after I saw an advert for a position here.
“I couldn’t do my job without such a great team around me – Neil is an amazing role model and Alasdair is such a hands-on CEO. Then there’s the rest of the Social Enterprise team, who are always there whenever you need help and support. It’s motivating to know I’m surrounded by so many people that share a common goal.”