What better way to introduce our dynamic and passionate Managing Director than to get out outsiders perspective!
While writing this blog with Claire, my trembling fingers tap away on the keyboard, noting down her words, silently biting back unexpected tears.
As we discuss the elements of the Progress business; from the company’s story to the achievements in residential homes and to the passion behind the Fostering Agency, one’s mind cannot help but to flicker back a decade. A vivid image of a cold frosty January, as one’s 16-year-old self silently closes the front door to their father’s home for the last time. Clinging onto a sparsely packed shoulder bag as salty tears fall over burnt skin, moistening the blotchy purple marks and teeth-indented face; making a choice that far too many other young individuals face, prematurely propelling me into the solo adventure of adulthood a few years too early.
What I would have given at that crossroad for an organisation run by a managing director who unequivocally and bluntly states and I quote, “it does not matter how long an individual is with us, whether it is two hours or twenty years, we will make a positive difference in their lives. If you come to us with only a garbage bag, we will make sure you leave with a suitcase, a set of clothing that fits you, and a feeling that you matter.”
When I speak to the individuals at Progress; whether it be the Fostering Manager, the Social Workers, HR, or indeed the Managing Director, there is absolutely no doubt that each and every one of them are not only singing off the same hymn sheet, but that they make one heck of a formidable team. There are no words to describe, knowing there are children in the hands of people that put their entire hearts and beings into making a difference to the lives of these young people.
When I discuss Claire’s background with her, starting from Support Worker and working through the ranks, she talks about the importance of the role; when an individual chooses the role as a support worker for the wrong reasons, they can actually do more harm than good. If you spend time with someone from an abusive background used to hearing how they are not good enough, or your response to understandably challenging behaviour is not one of patience and effort to overcome the underlying root of the problem, you could add further damage to that individual. Do it for the right reasons; you will have no idea when the smallest seemingly insignificant efforts you make for the best intentions for that child could make the most powerful and positive impact on their lives. Same rules apply when considering the position of a Foster Carer.
The old cliché of ‘having a why that makes you cry’ when it comes to motivating yourself, is clear in the passion that each individual working for Progress shares. Unanimously, it is agreed that while not the easiest industry in the world, when your heart is in it and your primary focus is the child themselves, it delivers unmistakably the best job in the world.
It has been noted that sadly, there’s more demand for children in need of help than there is supply when it comes to the ratio of Foster Carers within the industry. When you have the means and desire to change a child’s life for the better, what’s stopping you?
If you are looking for a team that works as one single unit with endless personal development opportunities for yourself, parallel to those of young people whose future selves would show you no end of gratitude, perhaps a career as a Foster Carer or a Support Worker could be for you.
I know which company I would recommend.