A Day In The Life Of A HARP Project Worker
Prakash is a Project Worker for our Floating Support Team, and personally supports 23 of the residents in our 222 rooms. Here, Prakash tells us more about his role:
How did you get started with HARP?
I discovered HARP in 2012 when I had been made redundant and was struggling to find work. One day I was out and about job-hunting and I saw a sign in the back of a HARP van saying 'driver wanted'. My previous job took me all over Britain and Ireland and so driving was second nature to me. I applied and got the job, which involved collecting and delivering furniture for our charity shop on London Road. The role was purely voluntary but I loved it!
I would go out on the van with some of our residents who would help with the carrying of the furniture. It gave me the chance to get to know some of our service users while they got experience and developed their social skills.
After that I spent a short time in a paid support worker role, where I learned more about HARP and the importance of giving continuous support to those who stay with us whilst also working alongside them and helping them to gain the life skills which will help them to overcome homelessness. This gave me the experience I needed for my current role as a project worker.
What does your role involve?
As a Project Worker I support our service users by helping to create a stable environment that will enable them to flourish and ultimately move on into their own independent accommodation.
Every day is different so you have to think on your feet a lot as well as have the ability to change your daily plans at the last minute.
My basic day will involve helping service users who need help with mental and physical health challenges, promote life skills and help with tenancy sustainment.
Covid has been challenging but hasn't stopped our residents from getting the service they are entitled to. I worked from home for 16 weeks but was able to support people remotely as well as liaise with our partner agencies including the housing team at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.
Even without face-to-face contact, the support was very much appreciated by our residents. For the bits of my job that I couldn't do from home, I was supported by frontline office based colleagues and together this formed a successful partnership.
I’m looking forward to getting HARP’s weekly allotment group going again, which we run in partnership with the Council’s Parks Team and has been on hold because of Covid.
What do you love most about your job?
The hardest part for anyone using our services is coming through our doors for the very first time into an unknown world. It is very satisfying to see them develop from someone who may have lost direction in life to being ready to live independently and receiving a set of keys to their own home.
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