What do you most enjoy about your job?

I love seeing the positive impact of clients’ involvement, particularly when I get to see how happy clients are when they’ve been empowered to get involved, contribute, and support each other – whether it’s seeing their artwork on a wall, sharing their skills at an activity they’re facilitating, or being valued and listened to by a board member.

Because of this, I think the best day of the year at YMCA Brighton has to be the Client Appreciation Awards. Really sadly, for obvious reasons, we’ve not been able to do it for a couple of years. But each time we’ve done it it’s grown year on year.

We’ve created awards categories that clients can be nominated for, like the ‘Working Together Award’, ‘Achieving Aspirations Award’, ‘Extra Mile Award’, ‘Volunteering Award’, and awards for completing Life Skills modules.

Last time, it was really client led. Client Representatives presented clients with their certificates; clients contributed poetry to be read out; we had a gallery of client artwork and stories of clients’ successes that year; a client baked a cake for the event (made to look like a certificate!); and client volunteers made speeches about what involvement has meant for them.
I admit, I cried when I heard a Client Rep say ‘I’ve found my self-worth again through the opportunities given to me in this role’!

What is the biggest challenge in your position?

I want clients to be motivated to let us know how we can improve, but sadly, we can’t always make those things happen because of time constraints and budget concerns. We also have to negotiate between lots of peoples’ wants and needs, so not everything is feasible.

It’s hard to have to turn an idea down when someone’s taken the time to contribute. We don’t want to discourage them from contributing in the future either.

Get in touch: briony.banks@brightonymca.co.uk

Watch this video, dedicated to our clients during celebrations for Volunteers’ Week.