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Sahara Henery

Sahara Henery, shares why she became a project worker and what the role entails for her.

Sahara Henerey, project worker, laughs with open arms on Brighton Pier

Working at Sanctuary Supported Living’s Brighton and Hove Foyer, which provides supported housing for young people aged 16 to 25, is all about supporting vulnerable young people on their pathway to independence.

Many of the young people who live here have experienced homelessness or family breakdowns, or they may have lived in care. My role as a Project Worker involves working alongside a great team to help residents to build their confidence and gain the skills needed so that they can one day move on and live independently.

I started working at Brighton and Hove Foyer in 2019. I always knew I wanted a career where my work would make a difference to vulnerable people’s lives, so when I saw the role of Project Worker advertised, it seemed like a perfect fit! As soon as I began working here, it became clear to me that this was what I loved to do.

My job is fast-paced and there’s always lots going on – and every day is different from the last. One day I might be working with a resident to help them create a CV so they can access training or work; another day might involve teaching life skills such as cooking, cleaning and maintaining a tenancy; or I could be helping a young person to understand their personal finances and manage their money. 

Working on the frontline with young people means that I get to see first-hand the impact of my work on their lives, which is really rewarding. I have a degree in Psychology and I also previously volunteered as a mentor for young people with mental health needs, and both experiences have helped me to better understand the young people I work with. 

I also have regular training on a broad range of subjects which means I’m always up to date with the latest best practice ways of working, and  I know I’m giving the best support to the young people I work with.

In the last couple of years, I’ve learnt more about safeguarding, had training to understand drug addiction, and learnt how to spot when someone is experiencing domestic abuse, and how to support them.

Some of my nicest work moments are the conversations I have with residents who’ve grown to trust me after we’ve worked together for a while. For example, I could be working at my desk and one of them will come in and just have a chat. These moments are lovely, as they know they can open up and talk about their day, their stresses, and their achievements without any fear of judgment.

No matter how much busy I am, I’ll always find time to sit and chat with them because I know the importance of feeling like you are listened to and that your time is valued.

Some of my nicest work moments are the conversations I have with residents who’ve grown to trust me after we’ve worked together for a while.

A proud moment for me was when I was supporting a young man with learning difficulties and his mental health. I supported him throughout his appeal to receive the Personal Independence Payment (PIP). He won at tribunal and received a back payment which gave him the security to move on to independent living with friends in a private rental. This was a huge accomplishment after living at Brighton & Hove Foyer for two years.

What I love most about my job is seeing how these young people progress from when they first move in right through to when they move out - whether they’re going off to university, moving on and living independently with friends, or going to a higher-needs supported living service. It’s a privilege for me to get to know them as individuals, see their unique personalities and watch them grow as people. 

Don’t get me wrong, some days are more challenging than others, but I have the support of a great team around me, so I know they will help me to deal with any obstacles that come up. We work together to give the residents the personalised support they need, and I’m proud to know that my work is making a difference every day.

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.

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