After graduating with a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Studies in 1996, Kelly became a volunteer for Women’s Aid. She also trained new volunteers for the helpline and worked as part of a wonderful women’s collective. Kelly took a paid job at Bromford (a social housing provider) in 1996, alongside her volunteering, to be a support worker for young people, managing temporary accommodation services. Since then, she has enjoyed many varied roles at Bromford, all of which have had safeguarding at the heart of them, managing services and commissioner relationships to house and support people to realise their potential. In Kelly’s role as coach and trainer at Bromford, she has been delivering key learning to her colleagues such as safeguarding and domestic abuse. Kelly is so grateful to SafeLives for delivering a programme of training to her colleagues based in their communities to enable them to have the right conversations. This included DASH checklist training, meaning that Kelly’s colleagues feel confident to identify concerns and to work with specialist services to find the right solutions for their customers experiencing abuse.
What made you decide to work with people experiencing domestic abuse?
As a social housing provider, we house thousands of families across our geography. We have hundreds of wonderful colleagues that work within our households and who raise concerns if they see/hear/feel that something is not right. However, I felt that we needed to go further, specifically around domestic abuse, to know how to open those conversations that could mean that anybody experiencing abuse would feel able to reach out and let us know that they are at risk. I could not sleep at night if I did not do everything I could, to support that work. Myself and a group of colleagues have championed this issues and our Senior Leaders have supported a new programme of training. In light of the Domestic Abuse Bill, I’m so proud that Bromford are acknowledging the crucial role they can play in managing risk as a housing provider.
What keeps you going when the work gets tough?
Staying focussed on doing the right thing. Becoming a better reflective learner and truly taking forward lessons learned. Having an unwavering belief in peoples’ potential and their strengths to find their own solutions. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with colleagues that have listened and supported.
What is the biggest challenge and the biggest reward in your role?
My biggest challenge is that I get very passionate and excited about new projects and learning and I want to achieve it all straight away. My biggest reward is when colleagues feedback to me that the learning we offered them genuinely supported them in keeping somebody safe.
What are you most proud of so far?
Along with other colleagues, raising the profile of safeguarding and domestic abuse in our organisation. In December, we won an award for campaign of the year for our Safeguarding campaign at the Housing Awards.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering this career, what would it be?
Deliver learning with enthusiasm, passion and integrity. Be prepared to offer high support and high challenge.
Kelly’s colleague said “Kelly is a truly amazing professional who promotes everything safeguarding – and in particular Domestic Abuse. Not only does Kelly train and coach our 1800 colleague workforce, design E-learning and promote Safeguarding and Domestic Abuse at every opportunity - but she has also been a pivotal leader in our #dontdonothing safeguarding campaign – which won Campaign of the Year at the UK Housing Awards 2020 In Dec 2020!”
Do you know a professional who has gone above and beyond to change the response to domestic abuse and keep survivors and their families safe? Nominate someone for Star of the Month by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Star of the Month’ as the subject line.