“I’ve been with Demelza for a few months now and I’m loving it,” said Claire. “Before this I worked in the civil service for 22 years, doing a mixture of jobs from training to complaint handling. My last job with them was as a work coach in the job centre, where I gained a lot of knowledge of funding pathways and financial support – which I’ll bring forward into this new role.”
That expertise, as well as the skills Claire has gained already in her role at Demelza, will help her connect families to the services they will benefit from the most as they go through this period of change. “I am gaining an understanding of the issues transition families face, having worked on the other side of things in the Department of Work and Pensions. If a family is worried about their benefit payments post-transition, or they’re not sure how deputyship works, I may already have the answers! I’m also able to explain the process to them, as many don’t know where to even start.”
Not only is Claire a dab-hand on the financial side of things, she and Paul (our other Transition Navigator) are very keen to grow the peer-to-peer support network between young people and the families we support. For example, the team recently held a “teens’ gaming day” on-site at our Sittingbourne hospice, where eight teenagers came together to play the latest video games in our cinema room, as well as enjoying arts and crafts and (of course) the all-important takeaway for lunch!
“We want to hold more of these days, and to increase their appeal,” says Claire. “We’d like to do another teens’ day, potentially focusing on pampering and spa activities, to make sure everyone is catered for. It’s so important for young people to connect with each other over shared interests, and forge connections that will hopefully go beyond Demelza in future. I feel really lucky to be helping families in this way – most days it doesn’t even feel like work! It’s a privilege.”
The team are also introducing a teen and parent carer support group for those who are in or who have been through the transition process to get together to help each other, and offer advice and support.