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Joanne Potter

Working at Sanctuary Supported Living isn’t just another job. It’s rewarding, inspiring, exciting and it provides the opportunity to make a real, positive impact on people’s lives. Joanne Potter shares a personal account of how she came to support young parents in Thurrock.

SSL Staff Member Joanne Potter

Joanne Potter, once a young parent herself, left her family home when she was 16 and found herself living in a supported housing service. She became pregnant at the age of 18, and worked in a variety of part time retail roles that were flexible around childcare. She then went on to study for a degree in Psychodynamics and looked for a role that would combine her skills and experience with helping to make a difference to young people’s lives. Her search led to her applying to be a Project Worker at Sanctuary Supported Living’s Thurrock Teenage Parents Supported Housing in March 2021. The service provides support for single, young people aged 16 to 25, who are pregnant, or have a child or children.

As a Project Worker, Joanne draws on her own experiences to encourage young parents to develop their skills, increase their self-confidence and live as independently as possible. Her achievements are measured by the progress of the residents, no matter how small that may appear to be.

Joanne said; “I am proud to support young parents to make mature and responsible choices for both themselves and their children. In my opinion seeing a young person’s face when they’re commended for their progress is the best feeling in the world, knowing that they are hopeful for a better future.

I am proud to support young parents to make mature and responsible choices for both themselves and their children

Joanne, Project Worker

“If you could have seen my 18-year-old self, you’d have thought that my prospects in life were slim. I came from a ‘broken home’; my parents divorced, I barely saw my father due to his issues with alcohol and the relationship with my mother was fractured. I left home at 16, I left school with inadequate GCSEs and by 18 I had my first child. By 23, I had three children and I separated with their father some years later to continue caring for them on my own.

“Throughout the years I always thought that I could do more, I just needed the confidence to do so. When my youngest child reached school age, despite my anxiety, I completed a course at the adult community college which fuelled my desire to continue with my studies. I always say to young clients that we’re only human! Sometimes it takes us a while to reach our goals, but we’ll get where we want to be if we just keep at it. I’m living proof, and my own, personal story helps me to be the best I can be in providing support to clients.”

Joanne recently organised a joint initiative between the Young Parents service and Basildon Homeless Outreach, where Thurrock’s clients will organise gift bags for rough sleepers in Basildon. This heart-warming project was planned with the support of Local Service Manager, Keira Harrison, as the services hope to make a difference for those in need.

For more information about a career with Sanctuary Supported Living and the variety of roles we offer, see our careers page. To find out more about our services for young people, see our latest news or find a service near you

You can also download Joanne's staff story (PDF 400KB).

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