Social care staff on the joys of the profession
Steve Keay is home safety adviser with Telford & Wrekin Council’s home improvement agency, visiting clients in their home to look for risks and dangers and help to put them right.
When I applied for the job in 2004 I didn’t realise what a huge range of topics are covered by the term home safety. As well as preventing falls and fires, I also advise people about security, energy efficiency and home maintenance.
I never leave a house without giving some sort of help or advice. I have a small van and a toolkit so I can do any small jobs there and then. I get a real buzz out of talking to people and seeing how even the smallest bit of help can make a big difference.
Being part of a home improvement agency is really important. If I find jobs that are too big for me to do, I can pass them on to another member of the team. They’re a really friendly bunch.
I previously worked as a home maintenance adviser for a housing association, running a council funded scheme to advise home owners about repairing and maintaining their home. My post was brand new, so I helped to shape the service and spent a lot of time finding out what people need and promoting the scheme.
One of the parts of my job that I really love is doing presentations to groups of older people. I play games of Family Fortunes and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? with all the questions based on how to keep safe in and around your home.
They are fun sessions, but really get the message across and it’s fantastic to see how many referrals we get as a result.
The worst bit about my job is the paperwork. With so many ways to help people, there are many bits of information to record. I try to get in to the office early to keep things up to date before going out on visits.
I always have to remember that I am a visitor in people’s homes and I can only advise them the best way that I can. It can sometimes be frustrating when people choose not to take the advice, but at least they know what the dangers are.
If I was giving advice to someone starting the same job, it would be: “Stop, look and listen – it’s more important to give a quality service than to rush in and out of the house.”
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