Foyer Service Manager

Wisbech Foyer in Cambridgeshire provides supported accommodation for up to 17 young people aged between 16 and 25. Specialist staff help residents develop independent living skills. Read more about Helen Florence (pictured centre) and her rewarding role as manager of the service.

Improving Lives - Foyer Service Manager

“I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d do without the Foyer – it’s turned my life around.”

Those are the words of one of the residents at our Wisbech Foyer in Cambridgeshire, which provides supported accommodation for up to 17 young people aged between 16 and 25.

Specialist staff help residents develop independent living skills, supporting them with individual training needs, accessing education and employment.

Each resident has their own room, with access to shared facilities, including a communal lounge, kitchen and laundry room.

Wisbech, which is operated by Longhurst Group member company Axiom, also has two move-on flats for those residents who are ready to make the next step towards independence.

The service’s Manager, Helen Florence, explained: “We try to encourage residents to live independently, by boosting their skills, attending education training or employment, by putting on resident activities, building up their social skills, getting them involved in the local community.

“They’re referred into the service by local authorities and agencies, local drink and drug services and colleges as well. There’s an allocation and interview process and then they’re put onto a waiting list. Once a room becomes available, they’re moved in.

“I love the team that’s here and the residents who are here – they make it for me. Very often, they come to the Foyer with nothing and so to then see them leave, having turned around their lives, is fantastic and very, very rewarding.

“Every day is different, with lots of challenges along the way, which stops me getting bored! I absolutely love it.

“It’s fantastic, as manager, to see how good the team are at supporting the residents, they’re absolutely brilliant.”

I love the team that’s here and the residents who are here – they make it for me. Very often, they come to the Foyer with nothing and so to then see them leave, having turned around their lives, is fantastic and very, very rewarding.

Helen Florence, Wisbech Foyer Manager, Longhurst Group

Andrew, who was sleeping on the streets before moving into the Foyer, said: “The Foyer has helped me in a lot of ways. I was homeless before I came here, but the staff have picked me up and have really helped me emotionally and done everything that needed to be done and more.

“If the Foyer wasn’t here, my life would be very different now. I don’t know where I’d be, who I’d be with or what I’d be doing. I’ve made new friends, met new people and learned new things here. It’s turned my life around. I’m happy here.”

Another resident, Bradley, added: “The Foyer has helped me in a lot of ways because I’m not originally from this area. I came down for my own reasons and ended up in here.

“But with the support of all the staff, especially my key worker and people like Helen, they’ve helped me get through the rough times.

“Without their support, I don’t know how I’d have managed to do this.

“Thanks to everyone here, I’m really in a good place and back on track now. My life is getting better all the time – and that’s thanks to the Foyer.

“I’m working, I’m getting out more and I’m socialising. If it wasn’t for the staff, I wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Helen has only been in post as manager at Wisbech for little over a year, but has overseen a dramatic turnaround at the service – an impressive performance which saw her shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

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