What it’s Like to Work for Sapphire Independent Housing

Philip Kayongo

I commenced the Trainee Project Worker role in November 2017. Before this I had been working as an Admin Officer for the NHS.

When I first started I was introduced to my new team at Conway House and advised of my role and duties as a Trainee Project Worker. As a Trainee my client group and responsibilities were to initially attend various training events and to shadow colleagues. I was then given clients to key work. Again to start with I had less clients compared to a fully- fledged Project Worker, but the number was increased towards the end of my trainee programme. Part of this 1 to 1 key working also involved working with external agencies to support clients with challenging behaviour and complex needs.

Sapphire’s Trainee Project Worker programme offered me formal training and experience in different aspects of supported housing. The role offered me the perfect combination of what I wanted in a job, such as working in a challenging environment, intellectual stimulation, strong network of support, career development and working collaboratively with more experienced colleagues at Conway House.

I have gained confidence and skills to carry out my role through attending training on varies aspects of supported housing and with the help of senior colleagues. I have advanced and developed skills to support vulnerable clients through key working and liaising with different external agencies. My biggest achievement has been supporting clients with challenging behaviour and complex needs to find alternative accommodation.

I enjoy working for Sapphire. It’s good to be part of an Association that provides quality services to some of London’s more vulnerable people. As a small organisation it helps you connect with residents and means you get to know most members of staff from head office and across the Association well too.

Rosie Butt

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

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.”

"Working for Sapphire Independent Housing has been the pinnacle of my career" quotes George Tranda, Facilities and Maintenance Operative.