WMWA refuges are confidential, safe places staffed by supportive, trained workers. Claire Cook, our Refuge Co-ordinator for Worcestershire tells us what a typical day can involve…
A day in the life of a Refuge Support Worker
As a Refuge worker you can begin your day with a clear list of tasks, however that may change the moment you walk through the door. People often say to me that it must be really easy just sitting in an office all day. Yes my job is office based, but this office is in a refuge where families live their day to day lives after fleeing their homes, so it can come with many challenges, and many rewards.
Refuge workers wear lots of hats; support worker, cleaner, benefits advisor, maintenance worker, the list is endless. There really isn’t a typical day. I can be meeting with a client to do a 121 support session, accompanying someone to an appointment, making a call to housing, comforting someone who feels isolated from family and friends, cleaning a room, testing fire alarms, unblocking a sink and then smoothing over a disagreement between two residents. Fundamentally though, what a refuge worker’s job is, is to support and empower women and children, I work with them to improve their self-esteem, self-confidence – help them begin to understand what it is that they have been through and aid them on the steps to their recovery. I am a friendly face when they feel low, I listen when they want to be heard and I share in their excitement upon hearing good news.
Every day I feel blessed to do this job. It can be emotional, good and bad, but it is also a privilege to work in an environment where women support women. Unlikely relationships develop between residents and lifelong friendships are formed, children play together and women start to smile again.
And then in the blink of an eye, it’s the end of the working day, and it will be completely different tomorrow.
Visit Refuge to find out more about our Refuge service and support.