Why I love my job
By Josephine Hocking
Jill Bartlett is part-time development officer for Contact a Family in Wales. The charity supports parents of disabled children.
“One of the main attractions of my job is the amazing variety it offers me.
I organise and develop Contact a Family’s programme of events throughout Wales for families with disabled children. This includes training workshops covering challenging behaviour, stress management, wheelchairs, benefits, and communication and negotiation.
Contact a Family provides parents with good quality training and the opportunity to share ideas. It’s very rewarding when we receive positive feedback. Families tell me how they are now in regular contact with one another and feel less alone, and also better informed, which is great to know.
My role is a great way of meeting up with families who might otherwise feel isolated, particularly in rural communities.
My beat covers the whole country. Speaking Welsh is really useful as some parents are more comfortable discussing issues with me in their mother tongue.
Working from home can be isolating at times, but I enjoy managing my own working week from my office in the spare room. Some days are office based, others are out and about in Wales overseeing workshops and events.
I am also part time adviser for the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.
I occasionally fret about organisational disasters that might happen: venues not expecting us, no lunch, trainers failing to turn up, parents not enjoying the event, being stuck in traffic and arriving late. But everything usually works out fine and then I wonder why I worry so much in the first place.
The pleasure I derive from my work is tinged with sadness as I’m uncertain whether I can continue. Same old story, I’m afraid: funding for my post ends on 7 December. We do have a couple of bids in for more money but as yet no response.
I’ve made new contacts at government level through Contact a Family’s direct involvement with the Welsh Assembly. We submitted responses to consultation for the National Service Framework for children and young people, and hope to influence policy and improve the lives of families with disabled children in Wales.