GROW – Kerry’s story

I was living in refuge accommodation in 2016 with my newborn son after fleeing an abusive relationship. Up until this point I had completed A levels at school but hadn’t had a permanent meaningful job. I took on various admin roles through agencies whilst I looked for something more permeant.

I came across the role of GROW trainee role for the offender resettlement service, the criteria for application was having accessed supported accommodation provision myself, I applied thinking that at least something good could come from an awful experience of living in refuge accommodation.

I applied, was interviewed and successfully appointment. I joined the team on a temporary 9 month part-time contract, I had no experience of working within the sector and spent the 9 months gaining as much knowledge and experience as I could. Riverside provided extensive, quality training to enable to me to develop professionally and my manager and team supported me towards the end of my contract to apply for other jobs within Riverside. I secured the role of Project Assistant at the Railway Road Project, where I worked for 3 years within this role before being seconded into the role of support worker. When the secondment ended, there were no local opportunities for support worker roles within Riverside so I applied externally. The time I spent at Railway Road equipped me for working with individuals with multiple complex needs in any provision.

For the next 4 years I worked within supported accommodation provisions and voluntary support services, where I gained specialist knowledge in mental health, domestic abuse and housing. In 2022 I started a Mental Health Nursing Degree at Salford University and have returned to Riverside as bank staff.

I will forever be grateful to Karen and Christine, the recruiting managers for the role of GROW Trainee, they saw potential in me I wasn’t able to see in myself and for Riverside for providing me with employment, training and support to grow. I did not know at the time, but that opportunity literally changed my life. I secured my place on the mental health Nursing course partly based upon my professional experience and everything I have learnt along the way since starting as a GROW Trainee for Riverside will support me in my mission to be a fantastic Mental Health Nurse and more importantly, I am a positive role model to my three children and to all individuals living in supported accommodation.

Kerry, GROW