Kayleigh Herbert – My experience at Park Lodge
I was transferred from Jason Court to Park Lodge Project when I was 16 years of age. When I moved to Park Lodge, I instantly felt welcome and safe. At first I was placed in the main building and I quickly made friends with other residents.
When I was able to show that I could cook and clean without needing help from staff, I moved to an outer house. Staff at Park Lodge were very friendly and gave lots of support including cooking sessions. They took me to appointments and helped sorted out benefits.
Park Lodge helped me to become independent and I was able to hold my own tenancy when I got my flat at the age of 17. My resettlement worker was Helen Miller (who is now currently Deputy Manager); she helped me to apply for a community care grant and helped me furnish my flat and set up bills. Without the help and support I had from Helen and other staff members from the project, I wouldn’t have known where to start. I went through many ups and downs throughout my stay at Park Lodge, but it made me learn a lot about life.
I always knew I wanted to go back to Park Lodge in later life to help other young people who would be going through some of the same situations I had been through. I started by going to college and studying Level 2 Youth Work and with that I needed to do some voluntary work so I gave Park Lodge a call and explained who I was and asked if it would be possible to do some voluntary work at the project. This was all OK and I began to help out running some group work and helping out with posters, I quickly got to know all the staff members and residents.
In 2014 I received a phone call asking if I would like to come in for an interview to cover a staff member on maternity leave for six months, I was currently already working but I knew it was the best decision to go ahead with the interview as Park Lodge was where I wanted to be as I still felt I had a connection with the place. Luckily I got the job and it is now four years on and I’m still here.
I can honestly say I love my job and love how every day is a different experience. It’s nice to give back to the project and try help and support other young people in need. I’m so glad that over the years I have taken the advice and support from staff. Park Lodge has definitely played a big part in my life and helped to make me who I am today.