Norfolk Integrated Housing and Community Support Service
About the service
NIHCSS is a partnership between Together, St Martins and MIND and is an amazing place to work, not just because Together are one of the UK’s oldest and most respected mental health charities, because we put the people who use our services at the heart of everything we do – supporting and enabling them to take control of their lives and make a positive contribution to the community. The Norfolk Integrated Housing and Community Support Service supports adults (aged over 18) with severe and enduring mental health needs, including individuals with complex needs.
How we help
The service works with individuals to identify and make changes in a variety of areas of their lives in order to improve their wellbeing. We aim to support people to achieve their goals and to live as independently as possible in their local community. We support people in supported living (located in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn) and within the community.
We provide an inclusive and supportive environment for all our staff where our team are driven to stay and grow. We know that we are only as good as the people that work for us.
Our staff have a positive attitude and are committed to Together’s values around service user involvement. We are fortunate to have an inspiring and compassionate team, who work enthusiastically and creatively alongside our clients, supporting them on their journey towards greater wellbeing & independence.
These are some examples of the key attributes we look for:
Whether you have come up with a new, inventive idea or found a solution to a difficult problem, thinking outside of the box and demonstrating creativity can make a real difference. Think of situations where you have used these skills in your everyday life; consider your achievements.
2. People Skills
Negotiating and listening well are really valuable traits within the work we do. Have you previously worked in in customer service, for example? Every day you will have listened and negotiated with customers. How did you achieve a successful outcome?
Being adaptable means you are able to respond quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, and other processes. It’s a good way to show you’re flexible and eager to learn. Think of examples of how you have adapted to a change – this could be at home or in the workplace.
Being someone who can coach, empower and support those around you is a skill required by our staff. Have you been involved in coaching a sports team, motivating and supporting your teammates?
5. Time Management
Being able to monitor workload and meet deadlines is an important skill in any job, and it helps you make the most of your time to accomplish more. How do you prioritise tasks? What is your approach?
Due to the pandemic, two of the hardest hit industries include hospitality and retail. We are keen to consider people who have worked in these sectors. Recovery worker roles can be an excellent stepping stone in your career.
When it comes to recruiting the ideal employee, hard skills can be taught, but soft skills are generally harder to learn.
What do we mean by hard and soft skills? Well, soft skills are traits that make you a good worker; such as work ethic, organisation, communication, teamwork and problem solving. Hard skills are generally learned through education, training, or previous work experience. They're objective, meaning that once you've learned the information or task, you then possess that skill.
As long as you are passionate about our objectives and have these transferrable skills, a lack of sector experience may not necessarily be a barrier. Considering candidates from different industry backgrounds can really open up options.
Transferable skills can make you really stand out, even if you don’t have direct experience in our industry. If you don’t have any previous work experience, these can also be gained from hobbies and interests, voluntary work or even playing sport. You are likely to have a whole set of valuable skills you can bring with you.
The Role of a Recovery Worker within NIHCSS
A full and comprehensive training package will be tailored for you. You will also have opportunities to develop specific skills in areas of expertise/interest and stretch your knowledge and working practices within the mental health field.
Paul was previously a service user with Together’s Norfolk Integrated Housing and Community Support Service (NIHCSS) and has since become a permanent member of the team having previously volunteered with the service. We spoke to Paul to hear about his story, the process of becoming a volunteer and then a paid member of staff and about the value of lived experience when supporting others.
When I came into contact with NIHCSS they catered to my needs properly and seemed interested in me as an individual setting goals specific to me. Those goals were small to medium to large which made them feel achievable and they could range from standing out in the garden to going on a trip on my own at first. After that we reassessed those goals as time went on and set new ones which felt like it worked for me. They also suggested I attend some group sessions which I dreaded at first but they were nothing like I’d imagined and were helpful.
"Taking on the permanent role hasn’t really changed my approach to meeting people and engaging with them. I want to talk to people as human beings in the way that people did to me when I was accessing support and hopefully it can make a difference for them like it did for me. I wanted to be part of the human race again and to be able to be included and to move forward so I remember that when I speak to people. I look to acknowledge there are problems and try to see them from that person’s point of view so we can overcome them together rather than those problems being dismissed. I find there is stigma in mental health we need to combat. I tend to think with my role I know I have to have my professional hat on but within that I can still maintain the human touches that make a difference to the support we provide.
I think I’ve learned new things and developed new skills and more perspective from being in different kinds of situations. In my volunteer role, there was a shortage of peer supporters available at one point and they needed a volunteer to attend an LGBTQ+ group. I have friends from the LGBTQ+ community but joining a group specifically for that community was something I hadn’t done before. I did hesitate initially but I don’t think it was about could I do it, more would those in the group be OK with someone joining who could be considered an outsider. As it turned out, it’s been the best group I’ve attended and I’ve learned loads from it developing an understanding of the needs of people in the group and their perspective on things. Attending that was a big turning point for me and I showed myself I was open to new challenges. I learned a lot more from listening to the experiences of those other people and from speaking to people from diverse backgrounds.
I have a fantastic manager and a brilliant team around me and if mistakes are made we all deal with them well together and look to learn from them."