“I started working at Pomona Place in October 2017. I was previously working for Herefordshire Council in the Benefits Department and I had heard stories and seen one or two notes on the system referring to residents there. When a position as Housing Officer came up, I applied and was more surprised than anyone when I got the job. Since September 2019, CCP took over the service and I have been fortunate to progress through Project Manager to Service Manager for Hereford Accommodation Based Support (ABS).

We have built a great team in Hereford which it has been my privilege to be part of.

We run a Supported Housing Service for vulnerable adults with mixed complex needs. This presents many daily challenges for staff. Passion and commitment are words you often hear in the Health and Support Services. I have seen these qualities demonstrated every day by the staff at Pomona Place and Bridge House.

Our staff are made up of the Support team and the Housing Management team. We rely on outside agencies to provide specialist support, which we often have to fight for.

I am often asked, ”What is a typical day like?” There is of course no such thing. We all arrive at work with a plan of what we need to achieve including reports we need to complete and meetings we are supposed to attend. By 09:30 everything will have changed. We deal with everything from an emotional resident who just wants to chat over a cup of coffee, to emergencies requiring immediate First Aid and Paramedics being called.

Recently, during the Covid19 Lockdown, staff have proved to be very resourceful in ensuring that all our residents still receive a quality service.

Social interaction is crucial for individuals who are already suffering from mental health issues. Confining them to their flats will only worsen their condition. We have provided mini events, afternoon teas, competitions, cooking lessons and more to support them through this time. 

Staff regularly donate items to the projects, work late, come in early and will swap shifts at short notice. The recent sad and sudden death of one of our well-liked residents left the others in the accommodation feeling shocked and upset. One member of staff worked a full shift, went home for a few hours sleep and returned at 04.00am to ensure that there would be a friendly face that residents recognised when they were around first thing in the morning. No one asked them to do this, it was just a natural response to a situation.

We have struggled with recruiting throughout the autumn, which has placed extra pressure on existing staff to cover shifts. They have always found a way to make things work without me having to ask. We are a great team. We laugh, cry, celebrate our victories together and draw inspiration and support from each other.

We are fighting for those that cannot fight for themselves. We are Hereford ABS."

-Paul Brazier (Hereford Service Manager)

Find out more about ABS here