31 Jan 2020

A few minutes with our Office Manager

Julie Charalambous, Office Manager, tells us more about her role within Calderdale SmartMove.


"I’ve worked for SmartMove since 2011 when I was transferred over from Horton Housing. If I were to describe my role it would probably be easier to tell you what I don’t do! But my job primarily is to support the staff in their own roles. I also deal with any complaints. I don’t necessarily mean complaints in a formal sense, but when clients come to us they’re generally very angry and frustrated. They want things to happen right now and that isn’t always possible. I usually bear the brunt! I also monitor each and every single client who we support. If a member of staff has any form of difficulty or issue with a client’s care, they come to me and we resolve it together.

Because SmartMove isn’t a statutory organisation, we’re a charity, I often feel we’re looked down in a way on by other organisations. It’s almost as if we don’t have the same credibility of a statutory organisation because there are no consequences for our clients if they choose not to engage with us, their freedom isn’t going to be taken away, they won’t be fined or lose anything, and I think this makes us a bit of an easy target. When you mention ‘housing support worker’, it doesn’t automatically command the same respect as social worker or police officer for example.

I love my job. It’s challenging, it’s hard, it’s frustrating, it’s different and sometimes it’s a total nightmare, but I love working with people. I find them and all the new challenges they bring fascinating. The team of staff at SmartMove are amazing. The best thing about working here is that we’re all together as a team in the same building. We’re not a massive faceless organisation. We have a CEO but he’s one of us and mucks in just like everybody else. We’re all just one team working together towards the same goal. We don’t have massive teams, we’re not dictated to by anybody and we can be quite flexible with how we want to work.

My absolute favourite thing about my job is watching a client evolve and develop. It’s amazing to watch their confidence grow.

On the other hand, the worst thing is when it doesn’t work. You can do absolutely everything and bend over backwards for someone who just won’t do anything for themselves. You have to step back and think ‘I’m doing all the work here’. For whatever reason, as much as we try, it just fails sometimes.

I think Calderdale as a community benefits SmartMove. Because we’re such a small organisation we can just concentrate on our Calderdale people. Not Bradford or Leeds or Huddersfield, our main focus is Calderdale. The community always pulls together and the support they show us is incredible". 





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