Skip to content

Bina’s Story

  • Case Studies
Bina 01

Case Study: Bina, Referral Coordinator

20 years ago, I graduated from university and was going to become a medical rep. My brother, who has a learning disability, was getting home-based support and it was one of his support workers who told me about a part-time role as an Asian family liaison worker, which I could do whilst I was waiting for my new role to start.

I started working part time in that role, and also started a part-time role with Impact Theatre. In 2007 I saw an advert for maternity cover at Certitude’s Activity and Resource Centre (ARC) for a deputy manager. I got the job and to my surprise I really started enjoying it and forgot all about being a medical rep.

In all of the years I’ve worked for Certitude, the thing I’ve most enjoyed has to be working at the ARC. I really enjoyed the therapeutic way of working and all of the outreach sessions. It was quality time with people – the memories that I’ve got are just priceless. It was just a happy place to be.

Two years into this role, there was a period where we didn’t have a manager. It was a busy time which really built up my multitasking and management skills. I used those skills in another maternity cover post – this time for a manager role. I then felt ready to move into a management position of my own. Eventually a position came up in Hounslow and I was there for about two years.

“It was a really challenging role, with the opportunity to tackle some big cultural change for the people we support and the teams. I enjoyed proving that I could do it.”

Then I became pregnant, and my priorities changed. I saw a new manager post coming up in Ealing. I was honest in the interview about being six months pregnant and asked if they would consider keeping it open for me until the other side of my maternity leave. And they did! It was lovely to have that sort of reassurance, to know that I was valued that much.

I was in that role for a few years, seeing a lot of changes. By 2017, I was overseeing support for people across four properties and had learnt so much. It was fast-paced change. I remember coming back from my second maternity leave, and many support contracts had changed from residential care to supported living. It was a lot of new learning. Even payroll was being done differently. Lots of our paper-based processes were now being done online. There were a lot of challenges in that period, but there’s a lot of happy memories as well.

As a parent, I loved the flexibility of my work then. I would have the day off during the week, and I’d work on a weekend and that way my husband and I were able to balance our work with the kids, the nursery and everything else.

Within the teams, we focussed on connecting people, based on the things they enjoyed. We also worked on connecting with each other across our four teams, sharing our knowledge and experiences. People felt a little bit more empowered by their peers and things that might have been scary, felt more possible.

We learnt from each other so that we could give people we supported more choices about what they might want to do. When you see or hear from colleagues that someone is doing something different you think – “the person I support could achieve that too.”

By 2018 I was thinking what is it that I want to do now? It is hard to switch off from. After trying a role that wasn’t quite right for me, a referral coordinator post came up. The manager encouraged me to apply because she felt I’d be the perfect fit and I haven’t looked back since.

“As a brand-new role I had the opportunity to grow and shape it within the organisation, which I’ve found really empowering.”

For me, the thing I value most is seeing the difference I’m making for people that we support. It can be a long journey from the moment that somebody’s referral assessment gets sent to me, to the moment they move in.

However smooth we try to make it, it’s not a quick win. I work closely with managers to liaise with the local authorities to negotiate on that person’s behalf to make sure we can do the best we can for that person to live their lives in the way they want to.

And when you get that right, it’s the best feeling – when you check back in a few months and see that they’re thriving, that keeps me going for sure.

"Because my brother lives in Supported Living I always have that in the back of my mind – is what I’m doing what I would want for him? So when I’m speaking to families, it helps remind me to try our best for everyone."

Related pages and stories