The Home-Start Bradford team is growing and we would like to introduce you to our newest member, Linda Preston. Linda has joined the team as a Direct Support Worker and her role supports the Stronger Families programme, with a focus on supporting our families with challenging parenting issues.
Linda took time out of her very busy working life to chat to us about her new exciting role.
I used to volunteer at Home-Start Calderdale and I loved it so much that when a job came up, I applied for it and ended up working for Home-Start Calderdale for 18 months. I have a job history in childcare as a childcare manager and a childcare tutor and it was when I was on maternity leave, I spotted the volunteer role on a poster at my son’s nursery. I needed an outlet and supporting other families was absolutely perfect for me.
"I knew the role would be perfect for me"
Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, Home-Start Calderdale were unable to continue operating so when I spotted the Direct Support Worker (Stronger Families) role at Home-Start Bradford, I knew it would be perfect for me.
The Stronger Families programme have Key Workers who support families across Bradford and if they identify a family who may be experiencing parenting challenges, then that is where I come in to support. I have child development experience and behavioral management training. From working with families before and through my own parenting experiences, I’ve got a lot of ideas that do work. I really care about what I do and the families that I am supporting and put my ‘all’ into every family I support.
"I know from personal experience how challenging parenting can be"
I know from personal experience how challenging parenting can be. My eldest son has been diagnosed with autism and my second son had a milk intolerance and did not sleep for the first three months after he was born. In fact, it got too much for me that one day I put the children in the car, drove to my husband’s work, handed him the car keys and got the bus home. After that he took some time off work – he didn’t realise that I wasn’t coping and just to have someone to say ‘I understand’ can make all the difference.
I recently supported a single mum who was struggling with routine and the behaviour of her children. The children were going to bed very late but were due to start nursery very soon. The first thing we worked on was a time plan and a bedtime routine and over a week, we reduced the children’s bedtime by 15 minutes every night until we got to a more manageable 8 o’clock. I was there to reassure the mum and offer suggestions and ideas to help manage their behaviour, not to dictate to her.
"It is so rewarding meeting new families and making a difference"
It is so rewarding meeting new families and making a difference. Any other job does not have the same return – just to see someone move on and become more confident in themselves is so rewarding. Sometimes no-one tells parents that they are doing a great job and it is wonderful just seeing how that family can blossom – from having very low self-esteem and no confidence in their parenting and for me to then increase that - it is a massive thing. I feel like Supernanny but without the naughty step!
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