We are here to support, promote and develop voluntary and community action in Middlesbrough

A day in the life of a Community Connect development officer

Ever wondered what it looks like? Its not all cups of tea and cake!

I will spare you the details of the chaos that occurs before my working day officially starts; all I will say is that I have a 16-month-old son who is very strong willed and neither getting dressed nor teeth brushing are on his list of priorities. 

I usually arrive at the office between 7:30- 8am, switch the kettle and laptop on and get stuck in. Utilising this golden hour before the rest of the MVDA team arrive I respond to the mound of emails and voicemails which comes with part-time working and create the day’s priorities list.

Today is Tuesday (my first working day of the week), I have 3 voicemails from Adult Social Care staff with queries on potential referrals, 32 emails covering a plethora of topics including promotional materials, linking in with M&S, “cake in the kitchen” (personal favourite) and befriending.

As my last blog stated, through Community Connect we have highlighted the lack of befriending provision across Middlesbrough for all ages. This led us to bring the voluntary sector together to gain a clearer insight as to why this has happened and ways we can address this. Since the workshop we have shared the learning collated from the session with those who contributed. This morning I have co-ordinated the next session for the working group, which is made up of representatives from 10 organisations who are passionate about developing Middlesbrough’s befriending offer.

It is now 9:30am and I have responded to several questions on this area of work and co-ordinated the next session.

At 11am I assisted one of our Community Connect Link Workers (CCLW) on a home visit in Coulby Newham for a new client. After brief introductions and an informal conversation reaffirming what the service offers, why the client has been referred and confirm that they want to engage with us, the CCLW initiates the assessment process. The assessment tool has a series of questions which aid a conversation that uncovers more about the individual’s current situation and how the CCLW can best enable the client to connect with their community. Shadowing has been invaluable and has enriched my understanding of our clients as well as highlighted some key strengths of the service and areas to develop.

12:30-1pm Lunch; veg sticks hummus and grapes, yes, I am one of those on the healthy January bandwagon, finally the ‘I will start next Monday’ came around.

My afternoon was kickstarted by contacting the social worker who made the referral for the client we visited this morning. We regularly provide referrers with feedback to ensure a joined-up approach in support.

1:30-3:30pm Interrogating Charitylog (our database) to create a report comparing client’s outcomes stars which showcase an individual's distance travelled in (what we hope is) improving their wellbeing. This wasn’t as simple as it sounds due to the way in which the database is set up and how the information is stored which meant that pulling the information off has been a much longer task than anticipated and isn’t finished just yet.

3:30pm Two new referrals in, my role is to identify whether the referral is appropriate (we have received very few that haven’t been) and then to allocate the client to casework with a CCLW. Allocation is done based on specialism or caseload. I also identify the client’s prevention level and key referral reasons which we analyse and report on.

4:30pm Home time, where has the day gone? Now back to the beautiful chaos of parenthood.

I have been in this role four months now. I love that each day is different; every day I am making new connections; exploring new ways of working; promoting a service I believe in and am fortunate enough to be part of a team who are passionate and knowledgeable about improving local people’s wellbeing and the voluntary sector. 

Kelly Baxter

MVDA

Community Connect Development Officer