Monday, August 18, 2014

A new job and a new home

The last time I posted was just after my visit with my parents, and although that was only a little over a month ago, it feels much longer because of how much has happened since then! On July 21st I started my new job, and the next day we began the long process of moving into our new place, so the last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind! Because we ended up having an overlap between when our new lease started and when the old one ended, we didn’t have to rush to move everything in one day, which I think was a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand it made things far less stressful because we’ve had plenty of time to clean and clear out the old apartment, but on the other hand, as we all know “Work expands to fill the time allotted to it.” Anyways, on to all the juicy details!

The New House

The house we’re renting is on the outskirts of a town called Port Talbot, in an area called Margam. We chose this area because it’s roughly the halfway point between my workplace and Josh’s, so it splits our commute times pretty fairly. I have quite a scenic fifteen minute drive through Margam to where I work. Our house is on a cul-de-sac in relatively new housing development. Although it’s a big change moving from an apartment in town center to a residential area, I love the little things, like having a front door that opens straight to the outside and having an attached garage! We have a lot more space here too; in addition to a storage cupboard in the garage (our cupboard under the stairs) we now have a small second bedroom and a much bigger, open-plan living room/kitchen area. And because there are so many children living on our street, the ice cream van stops by regularly! I think it will still be quite a while before we’re fully unpacked and settled in, but we’re getting there. I’m also (slowly) becoming accustomed to the sound of our mail being forced through the front door, so that now only about fifty percent of the time when I hear this do I panic and think someone is trying to break in.

The New Job

My official title at my new job is ‘Housing Support Worker’. I work for a company that primarily provides care and housing support to individuals in their own homes. The facility I work at is an apartment complex for older adults and people with mental health problems, and it’s a really flexible scheme so that our tenants can receive as much or as little support as they need and in whatever ways that they need it. There are 40 self-contained apartments as well as quite a few communal areas, including a library, a garden, and a restaurant that serves two meals each day. The support scheme specifically is funded by a Welsh Government scheme which focuses on providing people with the resources and support they need to maintain or improve their independence and their levels of engagement with their communities.  The types of things I do include:
—Supporting tenants to manage personal budgets and apply for government assistance
—Supporting tenants to manage their health, keeping/rescheduling appointments, arranging transportation, etc.
—Providing emotional support to tenants

—Contacting local organizations to arrange events at our facility and to develop links between the tenants and the community

With so many tenants we have a wide variety of circumstances in which we’re providing support, which means that I never know what to expect when I go to work each day. I am really enjoying the job thus far and already learning quite a bit. I don’t think that I could have asked for a better job to be getting my feet wet and learning the practical ins and outs of navigating the health and social care system in the UK. 


  1. Congratulations on your new house! I've been toying with the idea myself but I think Dean and I will have to save more money first. We're currently trying to find our halfway point. Dean's trying to find a new job closer to home first.

    I LOVE your work. How lovely would it be for America to have such a facility, giving people as much or as little help as they need for independence... what an idea.

  2. Just to clarify, we certainly haven't bought a new house--we're renting! I am nowhere NEAR being ready to buy a house and probably won't be for many years!

    Independent living facilities like the one I work at are actually quite common in the US--moreso over there than over here I'd say! It's a bit of a novel thing over here.