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Aisha's blog: getting to know people we support at a new service

Aisha Byamugisha, Service Manager at Amplio House talks about getting to know the tenants at her new service and why she thinks it’s an important part of being a manager.

Avenues support five people at Amplio House, a supported living service in Beckenham.

I moved to Amplio House from another Avenues service earlier this year. It’s a challenging service and I felt it was really important to get to know the tenants so that I could provide the best possible support to both the people we support and my team. As a new manager I think it’s really important, even if you are experienced, not to come in and think you already know it all. You may have experience supporting people, but to me it’s important to get to know everyone as an individual.

I started by listening to the staff who had experience at the service and know the people we support well. I gave every one my time and the space that they needed so eventually they would come to me and tell me about themselves. I spent time with the tenants at the service which allowed me to learn more about them and the way they like to be supported. For example some people like to chat and be sociable, while others prefer to be left alone.

By spending time at the service, talking to the people we support and hearing about the things they like to do I’ve been able to build up a clear picture of people’s support needs and their likes and preferences. For example I found out that one person would like to do a course and we’re in the process to set that up for them at the local college. I’ve found that by allowing people to make decisions and choices about what they do, by really listening to what they want, you can learn all about their preferences and what they enjoy doing.

I’m also really keen to learn when things don’t go to plan. If someone displays behaviour that challenges or is unhappy with a situation I spend time with my team reviewing this, looking into other means to minimise future occurrences. What happened, why did it happen and what can we do differently in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

The people we support have mixed abilities and behaviour that challenges and getting to know them hasn’t always been straightforward. So, it was a real ‘smile moment’ for me when one of the gentleman came and told me he couldn’t go out as planned due to pain. Later he came to chat with me and asked me about myself and I told him I had children. He went away and returned with two Mars Bars for me to take home to them. He came back later and I asked him if he would like to go out. We ended up going out for a local walk, which he really enjoyed. Now, he looks out for me and is always really friendly and caring when I see him.

I’m really enjoying my new role and it’s been a pleasure getting to know everyone at Amplio House. I think it allows me to be a better manager because if I know the people we support I’m in a good position to provide the best possible support to both staff and tenants.

25th November 2016