What are your areas of special interest / particular skills?
I have a passion for harm reduction brief interventions and enjoy developing and delivering training to new and existing staff in these skills. I have a special interest in needle exchange services and in Safer Injecting practices. I started my substance misuse career as a volunteer in a needle exchange in Bath and fell in love with the work from day 1.
What do you enjoy most about your role with Barod?
As a manager, I am in a privileged position where I can lead on influencing change. Barod is an organisation that doesn’t shy away from difficult or controversial topics and is happy to challenge the status quo if it means that it improves what we can offer for our service users. I love being part of a forward thinking organisation that is constantly innovating. As a feminist, I also enjoy working for an organisation that does not have a gender pay gap and have women as well as men in senior management positions.
What is it like to work in your area of Wales or in your specific service?
My role and service covers the whole of Dyfed which consists of three counties – Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. Many areas of Dyfed are very rural and cover a large geographical spread. This can be a challenge. Despite this, we also have much more urban areas such as Llanelli where the drug trends and the chaos tend to follow similar patterns to that of a city. Working for DDAS therefore means we as individuals and as a collective service need to be adaptable, flexible and really manage our time well.
Please tell us about your average day.
Is there such a thing?! One of the things I love about my job is that every day is different. I could be anywhere from Ammanford to Aberystwyth, in meetings, delivering presentations, knee deep in data, delivering training, supervising and line managing staff to conducting investigations and working with service users. There is such variety in my job which keeps work exciting and motivating.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
I try to remember in my daily work something our CEO advised me on a few years ago and that is that “Assumptions make an ass out of u and me”. I have learnt to never assume anything with service users or staff – it’s important that people can tell their own story without pre-judgements or other people making assumptions about their situation. The other thing I live and work by is to always do the right thing even when nobody is looking which my grandmother taught me as a child.