Staff profiles

Meet some of our staff below and learn why they love their roles at Blenheim.

Belai Gebre-Abate | Administration & Recovery Worker

20161013_095846Why did you join Blenheim?
I joined Blenheim in 2005 without knowing too much about the drug and alcohol sector. On my first day I saw one client come to the service who was very distressed and upset. As the first point of contact on reception I took time to speak to them, actively listened and by the end I managed to make them calm and even put a smile on their face when they left. From that day onwards I began to love my job more and more each day.

What do you like most about your job?
I am compassionate, warm, friendly and a people person. It’s in my heart to make a difference and to support others. I love client work and the responsibility for supporting managers with the building and health and safety work.

I take pride in saying that I have worked for Blenheim for over 11 years. I love working for Blenheim because of the heart and belief the organisation have in people. They stand by their mission statement to enable people to change. The organisation also offers great training to staff which helps enhance our knowledge.

What’s been your best achievement at Blenheim?
I’ve achieved a lot at Blenheim and this is proved on a daily basis according to the clients and service needs. For example, I took responsibility for supporting our manager refurbish the building three years ago. The most impactful thing I do is to give a big smile to clients when they access the service and speak encouraging words – it really helps.

John Taylor | Family Worker

Why did you join Blenheim?
I first started working in the drug and alcohol sector after I went on a counselling course and I’ve been here ever since. I’m really interested in the dynamics of families and what I call the ‘forgotten people’ of addiction. There’s not always as much help for people affected by substance misuse but not using themselves – families, friends, carers etc. The idea of supporting them really appealed to me.

What do you like most about your job?
I really like my team and colleagues here and feel very supported. I’ve got a great manager and although we’re a small team we work really well together. Blenheim overall is a great organisation, it’s personable and caring – everything is about people.

What’s been your best achievement at Blenheim?
I feel like I make a difference to people everyday and it’s great to get feedback from professionals and clients recognising and appreciating the work we do. I’m proud of setting up this service from scratch and it’s been very successful. Just recently I was thrilled that my idea to have a carer as a service user rep was taken on board and one of my carers has taken up the new position. It’s great to see the importance of people supporting others in recovery.

Sharon Thompson | Project Worker

FB_IMG_1488367480282Why did you join Blenheim?
I joined Blenheim in 2007 as a volunteer at Portobello Road. At the time I was raising my children who were all in education and I chose the drug and alcohol sector because I wanted to be more aware of the risks and harm involved around drugs and alcohol. It was important for me to be able to raise these issues with my children. I also wanted to become qualified in working with vulnerable people who need support and assistance in this area.

What do you like most about your job?
What I like most about my job is the satisfaction I get when seeing the clients I work with become abstinent, gain confidence and apply themselves to further education/training or even simply returning to school. I have worked with young single mothers who have had their children put under child protection because of their misuse of drugs and alcohol. It’s incredibly rewarding seeing productive outcomes such as children coming off child protection because their mothers have become abstinent and returned to work or further education.

I like working for Blenheim as I admire their policy of believing in people’s capacity to change. There’s so much support offered to all with no discrimination and there’s a great representation of different people which gives me more confidence in the work I do.

What’s been your best achievement at Blenheim?
My best achievement at Blenheim was when I was interviewed with a client about my work and their determination to become abstinent. Our story was published in a local newspaper. I was also very happy to meet Princess Anne who thanked all the volunteers for their work in substance misuse. I even managed to make her laugh but also nearly got arrested for treason as I tapped her shoulder while laughing… Luckily she was very gracious and put her hand up to stop the police approaching me!

Andrew Kavalierou | Project Worker

_IMG5641Why did you join Blenheim?
I’ve had approximately 10 years service at Blenheim with a number of different roles and at a number of different services.

I have always had a default setting to ‘help’, whether that may be carrying shopping or trying to support people. This became noticeable to me and growing up in East London on a difficult estate I started to feel and see changes to the area. I knew close people who had been affected by the surge of crack cocaine.

This also started to filter into my Boxing club and I observed coaches and neighbours or family struggling to deal with some of the behaviours with people close to them. The biggest trigger was a personal friend who had taught me how to play football when I was very young. Unfortunately he tried heroin once and passed away.

I was aware that some methods worked for some people but I wondered and was intrigued if there was any professional help in the world. I literally phoned a drug service and asked how I could help others and after a quick interview I was invited onto a drug awareness course. Shortly after I embarked on a course called the SMART Scheme and volunteered for a Blenheim service and absolutely loved it!

I have always been fascinated by people so I guess helping others and listening to their journeys excited me and the challenge of approaching issues and seeing progress hooked me too!

What do you like most about your job?
I love group work! I love being able to watch people grow and being alongside a personal journey. I am privileged to be able to listen to personal and very intimate stories and also for any individual to share that information with me.

To be part of any personal journey, whilst challenging and sometimes difficult, has bought me many enjoyable moments with my time at Blenheim.

I feel we make a difference and an important one in many people’s lives and to be part of that can be nothing short of remarkable, even given some of the difficult work we have to complete.

What’s been your best achievement at Blenheim?
IMG_4582In my spare time I’m really involved in boxing and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using some of my coaching skills verbally and also physically, taking clients through Boxing and Pad-work training.

It is a skill but if a client feels like they are in a battle and fight, then to coach and use my Boxing skills and methods to engage in this journey to tackle the opponent (drug or alcohol) has been received well and I have embraced working in that way at times when it has fitted.

A slip can be a round lost, but not the fight. A knockdown is just that but will you get up? Yes you will and you will finish the fight!!!