Chelsea O’Mahoney talks about her work motivating service users.
This is my first job. I studied beauty therapy in college for two years and after that volunteered with the charity User Voice. I really enjoy what I do. I get texts from people I’ve seen, thanking me for my motivation and dedication. It puts a smile on my face when I get feedback like this and makes me certain that this is the work I want to be doing.
I started my job in April last year and am one of 15 engagement workers employed by London CRC. I cover Enfield and Haringey boroughs.
I don’t live too far from work and commute in by bus. My first task is to check my emails to see if I have any new referrals or any service users to see. I could see up to four in a morning if it’s busy.
Today I have a 10am meeting with a service user and his offender manager. My role is to talk to the service user and to encourage him to comply. I ask to see this service user on his own as it’s clear there is a personality clash with his offender manager. I manage to calm him down and we agree that I will do my best to get his offender manager changed. This is only done if there is a very good reason. In this case it is the best step. He is about to go back to university but is in danger of breaching his order.
I have to write up everything I do. On the referral form, I will provide details about what happened at the meeting, what we spoke about and the outcome.
I continue to see some service users, helping them to set up their benefits and signposting them to services if they have a problem. All forms and records of my activity go to our Equalities and Engagement Team at Head Office for evaluation.
I attend the weekly service user induction meetings at Enfield and Haringey and let service users know they can talk to me if they want to.
In the afternoon I’ll respond to emails and write up all my notes. A lot of the time I am on the phone chasing up various actions that come out of the morning’s meetings.
Every Wednesday I attend the local Integrated Offender Management meeting at the council offices. There’s a mix of people at these: the police, St Mungo’s (the housing charity), the housing officer, the drugs worker, mental health services, offender managers and the Senior Probation Officer plus myself. I give feedback on particular cases. I may also ask to see a case that’s being discussed – it’s an opportunity for me to get more referrals. I also attend meetings of London CRC’s North Service User Council together with two other engagement workers representing other boroughs. The Council is one of five across London and is led by User Voice enabling service users to discuss and put forward proposals for the probation service.
When I get home I’ll relax for a little in front of the TV. I may go and see family or friends or go out for a meal and on to the cinema. Peanut, my cat, sleeps at the foot of my bed and always knows when my alarm is about to go off, ready for another busy day.