FANCY a job with flexibility on when you work and the chance to make a difference for those in need?

If so, bank working might be right up your street. Bank staff are people that organisations who provide support and care services can call upon when their permanent staff aren’t available or when they need additional resource.

At Turning Lives Around we have between 15 and 20 people in our ‘bank’ who help provide cover at our 24/7 services as well as filling gaps on staff rotas in other parts of our organisation.

Emma Hardcastle started working with TLA in April last year. She’d taken a break from working in care and support settings and wanted to return to that sort of role but with flexibility that would enable her to work around family life.

“I have always been in this line of work and really enjoy it. After taking a few years off I wanted to return to something I have a passion for. I found TLA online, applied and got the job,” she explained.

“The beauty of bank working is that I can move around to different services. The hours can fluctuate but if you’re putting in the right amount of effort, they will definitely keep asking you to come back.”

The flexibility also works both ways. “With bank you can pick and choose to some extent where and when you work. I have a family and like to know that when school holidays come around, I don’t have to book as many shifts.”

On average Emma works 24 hours a week and has provided support at TLA’s Our Way Leeds (OWL) accommodation services for young people, Sustain Wakefield supporting individuals and families at risk of losing their homes and, on occasion, Beacon Leeds helping homeless people with multiple disadvantages.

“At Sustain I’m involved with their family services but also go out with support workers to see clients and help assess their needs to keep them in their homes or enable them to move into a more suitable tenancy.

“Tenancies can be at risk due to debt or issues like hoarding. There’s currently a lot of people who are private renting at risk of homelessness because their landlord wants to sell the home they are living in,” said Emma.

“It can be very sad but also very rewarding because we get them through their problems to the other side and it’s lovely to see them settled.”

At OWL the focus is on engaging with the young clients and getting them involved in constructive activities like a trip to the supermarket or doing some cooking. “It’s while doing these things that you develop a rapport. They open up and will talk about what they want to do with their lives once they leave OWL and start planning ahead.”

Emma added: “I get a lot out of bank working and would recommend it. In just being there for people, I feel like we do a lot.”

People take on bank work for different reasons. For some it’s a part-time add-on to their main job or studies. Others want to give support work a go and it’s a ‘way in’. The flexibility of being able to turn down a shift if they want or need to, is an attraction to many.

Likewise, the way people approach bank work differs. Some want to work weekends; some like to work for particular schemes or services; others are happy to work anywhere at any time.

Bank staff make a significant contribution to TLA and with multiple 24/7 services, the charity is always looking to add more people to its ‘bank’.

“Bank workers really strengthen our services. Where they are attached to specific schemes, they become part of the team and offer greater continuity, support and value to clients and colleagues than agency staff. Without them we either have to call on agency staff or have reduced cover which means extra stress for colleagues and less support for clients,” said Beacon Coordinator James Allen.

Bank staff at TLA are employed on zero-hour contracts but accrue holiday (or pay in lieu) for the hours worked. Pay is at a fixed hourly rate which is enhanced at weekends and bank holidays.

Interested? Check out our running advert on the jobs page of our website.

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