Shona joined The Door team as Family Support Team leader just over a month ago, so we caught up with her to see how she is finding life #OnlyAtTheDoor.
Hi Shona, can you tell us how you first got involved with The Door?
When I was working as a Parent Support Advisor at Brimscombe Primary School, I got to know Victoria because she was one of the governors at the time. When I found out about The Door’s mentoring I realised that it meets the longer term needs for young people a lot better than anything I could access through Statutory Services. The Door’s mentoring stopped when the young person stopped, not when the service decides. So when Victoria invited me to train as a volunteer mentor – promising me I only needed to commit to 6 months, and knowing the skills I’d learn would be useful in school, I jumped at the chance! 4 years later I’m still mentoring and I’m on my 3rd mentee now.
Amazing! So what prompted you to leave your school role and join the staff team at The Door?
My role there was part classroom based and part parent support based. And although I enjoyed working in the classroom the bit I was becoming more and more passionate about was the parent support. At The Door I can focus completely on that area of the support which is great!
You obviously knew a bit about The Door before you started. But what were your expectations, and have they been met?
I expected to be well supported, because of my previous experience as a mentor- and my expectations have been surpassed. Everyone has been so giving of their time and patience and I’ve been made to feel really welcome, although that hasn’t surprised me because that’s the kind of place this is.
I was a little bit worried about delivering training to volunteers, but I’ve been so well guided by Alistair who has recognised my strengths, allowing me to work to them. I think I’ve even grown in confidence a little (just in time for the next course starting in May).
Can you explain a bit about the Family Support The Door offers?
We have so many great things we can offer parents, from The Door’s own Support Groups, Triple P Parenting Courses and Family Face Time to other great services such as the Beyond Fear Foundation. My job is to help each family pinpoint exactly what’s right.
I’m so proud of the fact that we have a range of services – it’s not just 1:1 support. I love the fact I get to start with “How can I help you?” and then “Let’s help you find out what’s next”.
What’s next for The Door’s Family Support? Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?
Funny you should ask, we’re already thinking about a group specifically for Dads. There is a gap in the local area for a safe space where Dads can come together, ask each other for help and be vulnerable with each other. We want to provide an opportunity for them to gain support and sustenance from each other and feel that they’re not on their own.
I also want to continue to raise awareness of The Door’s Family Support services, so many people still don’t know what we do and I hope that by sharing more information we will be able to ensure that we can reach out and offer hope, support and kindness to the many families that could benefit from what we offer.
The Door’s Family Support Service supports around 50 parents every year and is made possible in part thanks to ongoing financial support from Provident’s “The Good Neighbour Scheme”
A monthly donation of just £10 would help us launch and sustain a group specifically aimed at supporting Dads.
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Donate today to train volunteers, provide mentors and more to parents in need. All proceeds will go straight to supporting local parents. Find out more at thedoor.org.uk/shop