So what is all this Promise Worker stuff about then?



My name is Zenobia and I am a Promise Worker. OK, hold on. I mean a promise can be a scary thing, a bit dangerous to promise anything to anyone isn’t it? Setting myself up for failure and mistrust on one side, or, being accused of having my head in the clouds on the other. There are times when talking to other professionals, I must admit, that I shy away from this job title, substituting as befits with a variety of more neutral words …’youth’, ‘key’ or ‘support’ for instance. A lot easier than explaining things repeatedly or being met by perplexed looks or raised eyebrows.

But, actually, when it comes down to it I wear my job title with pride. The optimist in me can see those raised eyebrows in actual fact as signs of interest and intrigue and anything that makes people stop to think again about the youth sector is surely a good thing. Who wants to be conventional anyway?

So, I like being a Promise Worker and having been here at the Winch for about 8 months I wanted to share a day in the life so you get an idea about what I do and don’t worry all specific information regarding young people has been changed.

8am in the morning: Get woken up by the police on the line. Oh dear, what have I done? Panic over, just looks like they have a mix up after I reported something missing on behalf of a young person. Now they are checking the information and I don’t have it on me…ask them to please call back!

8.30am: Get a call from the young man’s dad regarding above incident as police have turned up at his door. Reassure parent and try to act as middle-woman.

10am: In the office trying to negotiate technology, the task of uploading a 14 year old young person’s photography after our last session and emailing it to her is proving beyond me…but wait, with a mix of Dropbox, Zip files and Snapfish I am not defeated and make a cup of coffee to celebrate. Right, now time for some session planning and helping to carry a 10ft mirror down three flights of Winch stairs.

12pm: Have a meeting with a 14 year old at 12.30pm so want to prepare but get a last minute call from their parent telling me they can’t come in due to bad behaviour. This is disappointing as she is difficult to get hold of at the best of times. Speak to the young person and listen to how they are feeling. I’m pleased they have opened up but there is a lot of anger and frustration. It would have been great to see her in person. We rearrange the meeting. I have some lunch and have a think with my manager about how best to negotiate things with the family.

2pm: I’m off site to meet a 19 year old. She has been out of work for a while and is feeling low.  We have a chat about how things have been, was good to share a bit of laughter and see her smile. We work on motivation and exploring options, breaking things down into little steps. Progress is not always fast but at least she leaves the house to meet me and has someone there for her.

4pm: Meet a small group after school and take them back to the Winch for a spot of boxing. Promise Workers have a number of tricks up their sleeves! Catch up with some teachers while I’m waiting for them. I’m glad they think one of the young people I am working with is doing much better at school.

6pm: Evaluate my sessions, particularly looking at character strengths (more posts on this to come!) and reflecting on practice. This is a good time for me to think about outcomes and future actions. Right, all done for the day. But wait. Just been told I need to write a blog post, I’ve never done one of them before.

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