What it’s Like to Work for Sapphire Independent Housing
Rosie Butt at Conway House, began her career journey with Sapphire Independent Housing back in 2012. Rosie started as a Project Worker within the Camden Recovery Service and thoroughly enjoyed her time working within the service: “Sapphire Independent Housing had recently won the contract and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to work on a new scheme, implement new policies specifically related to relapse prevention and experience working with a specialised client group of vulnerable people.”
All appropriate positions within Sapphire Independent Housing are promoted internally to encourage staff to develop and grow within the Association. Therefore in August 2014 when a temporary vacancy arose covering a Team Leader position at Bethany House, Rosie decided to go for it. “Sapphire Independent Housing positively promotes any relevant internal opportunities to encourage staff development, which influenced my decision to apply for the post. It was a new challenge and great opportunity for me to find my feet with management skills, whilst working in a larger scheme with multiple support needs and within a new borough. I was very excited about this opportunity and the front line staff were a great support within my new role”
Ongoing training and development for all staff is encouraged across the Association and all relevant training is provided when a member of staff moves position or is promoted as Rosie experienced. “Specialised management training was provided for me as someone who was new to the management ladder, which aided my understanding and skills with managing a service.” After the year, Rosie applied for and was selected for the permanent post at Bethany House.
In late 2015 Rosie was promoted to Housing Operations Manager, based at Conway House, and now manages Conway House, the Training Resource Centre (TRC) and the Camden Recovery Service. “With my new found management experience and positive relationships within Camden, I decided to apply for the position of Housing Operations Manager. I could not have asked for more warmth and support from everyone across the Association, from staff to service users alike, during this transition.”
Rosie previously worked as a Project Worker for a larger housing association before joining Sapphire Independent Housing in 2012 and feels very fortunate with how successful her time at Sapphire Independent Housing has been so far.
I have now been in post as Operations Manager since November 2015 and am thoroughly enjoying the role. I would always urge front line staff to apply for any opportunities within the Association if they are looking to develop new skills and gain more experience. I have been extremely fortunate with my time so far with Sapphire Independent Housing and very much look forward to exploring and expanding the services we provide, to enable more opportunities for staff whilst also continuing to support vulnerable people across London.
Ahmed Lamptey, Finance Officer, is not on the frontline of housing and support but he believes that without his expertise and experience Sapphire Independent Housing cannot operate as effectively as it does.
Ahmed helps control the purse strings and seek out funding and grants to pay for ongoing service and expansion.
He said, “I used to work at John Lewis where they were more concerned about profit but at Sapphire Independent Housing it’s about the residents and how we can help them. It’s about accessing grants and money and making sure that every last penny is spent wisely.”
Ahmed has been at Sapphire Independent Housing for over eight years and enjoys the informal but professional atmosphere of a tight ship.
“We all know each other well and we all have the same objective even if we’re doing different jobs – and that’s helping vulnerable people. I might be at head office sitting at my desk getting on with my work, but the reason I do what I do is to help our residents. That gives me a lot of job satisfaction.”
Project worker Zoe Cumbers was inspired to apply to work at Sapphire Independent Housing after working at a hostel as an activities co-ordinator and seeing the difference she could make to people’s lives.
Zoe, who is currently based at Conway House, said, “I really enjoyed my previous role but I didn’t have any power to help or change things so when I had the chance to join Sapphire Independent Housing it was great. It’s exactly what I wanted to do.”
Trainee Project Worker programme
Zoe, who joined Sapphire Independent Housing in October 2011 spent a year being trained under the Trainee Project Worker programme, where Sapphire Independent Housing provide a programme of on the job and formal training, and is now a fully qualified Project Worker.
She says the job is a ‘real eye-opener’ and feels privileged to be in her current supporting role, “We help the residents to identify their goals and work towards achieveing them. Some have families and support outside but others don’t have anyone and we try and provide that extra bit of support which is sometimes needed to get back on their feet.”
“I enjoy working at Sapphire Independent Housing. It is small enough that everyone knows each other. I can go down to head office and people know who I am which is probably not the case in bigger organisations.”