Kayleigh lands her dream job at Derventio Housing Trust featured image
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Kayleigh lands her dream job at Derventio Housing Trust

A mum-of-three from Tamworth says she has landed her “dream job” helping others who have been through the trauma of homelessness – having had a similar experience herself.

Kayleigh Robinson, 36, of Tamworth, says she could not be happier now she has landed her dream job as a housing support officer with Derventio Housing Trust.

But life hasn’t always looked so rosy for Kayleigh.

Only in 2021 she was living with her three children in her mum’s two bedroomed house, having lost her home through a relationship breakdown. She said:

I moved into temporary accommodation and ended up living with my mum and my kids. It’s a two-bedroomed house and I was in one room with the kids, it was just difficult and stressful. I got depressed and I had to go into counselling and try to get myself out of this rut. No-one could cheer me up. Technically, I was homeless for about eight months.

But through counselling Kayleigh began to heal and she now has a home of her own. More importantly still, through her work at Derventio Housing Trust she can help people in Staffordshire who have lost their homes due to a range of reasons, including redundancy, substance use, relationship breakdowns and poor mental health.

Having been throughout her life a mechanic, beautician, and cleaner, Kayleigh says she has found her true calling as a housing and support officer, helping others who have been through challenging times in their lives to find hope again.

But it was advice from her counsellor that helped her see how to see the positives in life – whatever it throws at you.

Kayleigh said:

I’m only in a council house now but it’s mine. Once the counselling sunk in, then I could move forward. At first I didn’t listen. But when you do take it in and you take a step back, you realise they are right in what they are saying.

My counsellor gave me the best bit of advice I’ve ever received. She said: ‘Why worry about something if you can’t change it?’ I couldn’t change my situation I was in, I had to ride it out. Counselling taught me that you’ve got to grieve for your situation, otherwise you won’t get past it. If you give yourself time, you can move on.

Kayleigh’s job with Derventio Housing Trust sees her visiting residents who have been through homelessness. She visits all the people in her allocated properties every week and provides a range of help, including sorting out benefits, medical appointments, and, when the time is right, supporting them to move on to independent accommodation. She said:

If residents are a bit down, a bit depressed, you need to talk to them – sometimes you’ll have residents who have had a relationship breakdown. I’ll just try to cheer them up!

Some of our residents might not want to go into counselling but I tell them that if you want to, you have got to help yourself. I say I’ve been in a similar situation myself after a relationship breakdown. I was there. I understand. I have been depressed and I have suffered anxiety. I try to encourage them to think that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.

Kayleigh’s motivation for her new career in housing support also has another deeply personal root in her past. Kayleigh had been living with her father Barry. Her beloved dad died when she was only 17, and she found herself fighting for her home at a young age.

She said:

I think the person who made me who I am today is my dad. He always told me to make sure I didn’t depend on anybody, and make sure I wasn’t mean to people along the way. I had been his carer from the age of 14 and he was my world. When I lost him, I had to fight for the house then.

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

Kayleigh is such an inspiration. She’s a brilliant fit for her job as senior housing officer with us and her cheery disposition means residents look forward to her visits. It just goes to show that we can all turn around a tough situation and get things back on track.  Sometimes a little help goes a long way.

Derventio Housing Trust is an award-winning specialist social housing provider for people who have recently been experiencing homelessness. We currently manage over 600 bed spaces of accommodation for single homeless people in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Wiltshire.

To meet an ever-growing need in a Covid-emerging world, and during the cost of living crisis, we are looking for more people to become housing support officers like Kayleigh. For more information, visit our careers page or contact info@derventiohousing.com