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Free wellbeing training for housing staff

Frontline staff helping Derventio Housing Trust residents find a more positive future after homelessness have been given free training sessions – and a venue – by organisations keen to help boost their wellbeing.

Housing support officers and team leaders from award-winning Derventio Housing Trust – who are daily helping those who have been through homelessness and have a range of difficulties that may include severe mental health issues, along with drug and alcohol use – were given some important support themselves by Neish Consultancy of Derby.

Shona Neish said she heard about Derventio Housing Trust through business networking organisation Marketing Derby, and was keen to help the trust because of its good work helping get people back on their feet after going through the toughest times in their lives.

Sheila Taylor, chief executive of NWG Network, a charitable organisation formed as a UK network of over 14,500 practitioners who offer support to professionals working on the issue of child exploitation and trafficking within the UK, offered their premises to enable the training to take place.

Penny Wiltshire, funding and development manager at Derventio Housing Trust, said:

Our frontline staff are working every day with residents who have all been going through the toughest times in life. They may have attempted to take their own life, be struggling with severe mental health issues, be battling with drug and alcohol use, or have been rejected by their family – and very often all of these things.

We have programmes at Derventio Housing Trust to support residents but we are very keen to offer support to our employees as well. The emotional labour of supporting people who have been through dark times can be significant which is why it was brilliant to have been offered free training by the fabulous Shona Neish from Neish Consultancy, and to have been given free rooms by NWG Network too.

For an organisation such as Neish Consultancy to give up two full business days to help us, as well as all the extra time producing certificates and handouts, is a brilliant gift to Derventio. We’re so grateful for Shona’s time and the generosity of NWG Networks in providing the space. It’s great to be part of a supportive business community and heart-warming that organisations are prepared to help each other out like this.

Shona Neish gave two days of training to Derventio staff. Frontline housing support officers were given sessions aimed at giving them tools to boost their own resilience and look after themselves emotionally. She said:

It’s something that we always do as a business, if we spot a need, to do something about it. Derventio staff do such great work in the city and it’s nice to give them something back.

We asked them to consider their lives like spokes and which were the areas where they may need to do less, or more.

One of the challenges facing a Derventio housing support officer is understanding why some residents they are supporting may find it very hard to accept help, for example. It’s also very important for people doing this kind of job to ensure they get time to look after themselves. It’s hard to support other people if you are not giving enough time to yourself.

Employees were also given ‘re-framing’ advice aimed at helping people feel more positively about themselves.

Neish Consultancy then delivered training to Derventio team leaders, aimed at helping with things like delegation, approaching conflict and how to motivate staff.

Sheila Taylor, of NWG Networks, said she was keen to help Derventio as it was an organisation which chimed in with the work of her own charity. She said:

The reason why we like to support this type of organisation is because our work with exploited children and young people is so closely related to future homelessness. It’s really important for me that we support colleagues working in this field.

Derventio staff who went on the course said they had found it very helpful in a range of ways, including how to spot signs of when people are struggling and need support, and how to take time for themselves.