Day 15: Welsh Women’s Aid, A Day in the Life (Refuge Co-ordinator, Joanne Hammond)
Welsh Women’s Aid, A Day in the Life
By Joanne Hammond
My role as refuge co-ordinator is a diverse role which incorporates both planned and unplanned tasks and responsibilities. Over the last five years working in refuge I can truthfully say there are no two days that are ever the same. On walking into the refuge you are never quite sure what your day will consist of and what has happened prior to your arrival. This is the part of the role that I find most rewarding and positively challenges me on a daily basis.
The role consists of supporting women and families accessing emergency accommodation from the initial contact through to their move on from refuge. This encompasses working as part of team, key working, liaising with partnerships agencies, co-ordinating the on call rota, attending meetings, support plans, risk assessments, outcomes, house meetings, arranging activities and managing all aspects of the day to day running of refuge.
The day begins with updating refuges online and reading an update of the women’s/children’s files. A task list is discussed with the team to clarify what needs to be completed that day. Due to one of the women moving on from refuge in the next few weeks we met to complete list of things that need to be carried out and support plan. A busy morning continued with many of the women wanting support with contacting benefits, housing the GP and emotional support. Completed unit checks and all health and safety visual checks.
Considerable time was spent submitting a funding application for the young people in refuge to enable them to access local activities. This took precedence as there are little or no facilities and activities aimed at young people whilst waiting to be allocated a school place.
The afternoon continued to be busy with supporting a woman with her discretionary funding application. I attended a housing appointment to view and sign for a property, which is a rewarding part of the role to see the transition for the woman and her son from how she was on entry into refuge to now being allocated her own flat in a safe area. Tenancy support was referred to which will enable continued support and ease the transition and move on from refuge. The on call worker was updated via email with a residents list to prepare them for taking over from the daytime team. At the end of the day the women’s and children’s files were updated on the day’s events and diverted the phones to the on call worker. Such a busy day however, this is the part of the job I enjoy the experience of how diverse and rewarding the role can be.
The 16 days of Action to End Violence Against Women is crucial to keep the message prominent in people’s minds. The campaign also assists in raising awareness of violence against women and organisations that provide support. It is encouraging to see individuals getting involved which have included current and past service users.