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Empowering Families, Empowering Communities: Celebrating International Day of Families

IMOW – International Day Of Families

Community isn't just what we do, it's who we are. An essential cornerstone of our Communities is the family unit. As we observe the International Day of Families, it's crucial to recognise the evolving nature of family structures influenced by social, economic, and demographic factors.

Today, we celebrate the diversity of families worldwide. We recently caught up with Salim, Overnight Customer Service Advisor in the Customer Hub, at Places for People to discuss his role outside of his day job in supporting families in the Community. 

“Whilst working at Places for People I have had a type of eureka moment where I reviewed my direction in life and felt that I just needed to do more than just eat sleep and die. This led me to work with Red Rose Recovery, which is a charity set up by people with lived experiences to help create opportunities for people affected by mental health, substance misuse and offending behaviour.  I have first-hand experience with people who have suffered from these issues and felt that it was time to act and support in any way I could during my lifetime. I have previously been involved in many organisations supporting families locally and internationally and felt this was a natural progression to focusing on substance misuse and offending behaviour.”

What are some of the key issues you encounter when working with families and homeless Communities, and how do you approach addressing them?

“I have found that key issues which I encounter around this sensitive topic involve the family dynamics, mental health, peer pressure and the lack of family support. Working with the homeless Communities I have found issues which are predominantly domestic violence, lack of affordable housing and economic inequality. To address these, I often must assess safeguarding needs and report incidents to ensure the safety of service users. By listening and being aware of triggers and the “Chaos” of the individual’s environment I can judge and take action to support in a non-judgmental and empathic manner. I must approach with an open mind and be sensitive to the service users' wishes.

“One of the most impactful moments I experienced involved a young lady who was trying to free herself from her “chaos” and engaging with us to do this so that her young children would have a better future. During this journey, she was offered a single-bed flat within a development which housed various substance users and high-risk individuals. She prioritised the safety of her children and reluctantly put them up for fostering so that they would not need to be in her environment for the short term until she secured better accommodation.  

“The lady was upset doing this and decided to try and secure better accommodation and, in the process, asked for her children to be reunited with her. The services declined due to the accommodation the lady was in. This led to the lady having to now battle the “system” to be reunited with her children.  This has led to now another challenge this lady must overcome, in what she initially thought was the right thing to do. This is currently ongoing. This has impacted me as it appears sometimes people within organisations just do the easy thing rather than the right thing.  This is why I wholeheartedly support Places for People values as they are so closely aligned to a good way of life not just professionally but also on a personal level.”

As we celebrate International Day of Families, are there any special initiatives or projects you're involved in?

“My current project I am involved in is engaging with the misuse Community to support rehabilitation within the medical system. This involves me visiting service users and supporting their recovery and promoting engagement so that they can recover from their misuse. This shall go some way in families being reunited and individuals ultimately being supported by their loved ones. By helping others to overcome substance misuse helps them to engage with their loved ones in a coherent manner rebuilding broken family ties and personal relations. This is done through offering incentives such as training them through my Community Interest Company (CIC)so that they can become fit and healthy and feel good. This in turn helps to start the rehabilitation journey and support mental health and medication treatments.”

How can Colleagues and members of the Community contribute to or support your efforts in helping families and homeless Communities?

“They can help by being aware of charities such as Red Rose Recovery and by being aware that although there is an assumption that substance misuse is the action of that individual, the mental health and past life experience which have scarred and tainted the person's decision making are key triggers for the misuse. Nobody enjoys the addiction to substances and has a happy life from it. The addiction to the drug is so overwhelming that to shift your mindset from it is no easy feat. This can take years and can only be accomplished through numerous factors coming into play at the same time, which makes it even more difficult.”

In closing, he shared: 

“I have a passion to collectively provide a solution to improving health and providing accommodation and support to these families, individuals and the homeless. This is a journey that I am on and working at Places for People and supporting the core values of Places for People go some way in fulfilling the goals I have set for the Community work I do. 

“My aim in life is to provide a One Stop Shop and an accommodation model which addresses the needs of the users and offers a rounded 360 service which not only supports individuals but psychologically prevents the relapse. This is a passion of mine and no doubt I will update on this journey as I progress through it.” 

Salim’s dedication underscores the importance of collective action in building a world where every family can thrive.

Read more heart-warming stories from our Customers and People

We hope you found this story inspirational. If you would like to read more stories from around the Places for People organisation, check out more of our In My Own Words stories.  

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