Every year, some of the care sector’s best and brightest gather at the National Learning Disabilities Awards in Birmingham. At Outward, we’re lucky that our incredible staff are often shortlisted for an award and we always have a great time celebrating. This year, however, we had even more reason to celebrate. One of our fantastic support workers, Marvin Hamilton-Chambers, won the Support Worker Award.
“I didn’t think I was going to win. I was just grateful to be nominated,” Marvin told us when we asked him about the evening. “When they called my name, I couldn’t believe it. I think I just sat there for a few seconds to process until my manager Lewis just told me ‘you’ve won’. On the walk to the stage, I felt so overwhelmed in a good way. I can be shy at times, which is funny for some people to believe. It felt really good they could see I’m passionate and to be recognized for all the hard work I do.”
Marvin has worked for Outward’s Hackney Young People’s team since 2020 and has been a valuable member of the team from the start. He was nominated by his manager, Lewis Devonish, who noted Marvin’s skill at building rapport with young people who have previously been deemed as having ‘antisocial behaviour’ and helping them to achieve their goals.
In particular, Lewis highlighted Marvin’s key work with Jamie*. Jamie is unique to the young people’s service, as he is the only person with a learning disability. Since key working with Jamie, Marvin has helped him find a volunteering role at a school and establish habits to keep his room tidy. Marvin also encouraged Jamie to take part in a video project for Outward tenants, for which Jamie acted on camera and helped write the script. Lewis is not the only one who has noticed a significant growth in Jamie’s confidence. According to Jamie’s social worker, the progress has been remarkable.
Marvin is no stranger to supported living for young people, as he also lived in supported accommodation when he was younger. He says that having shared experiences with the young people he supports makes it easy to find common ground, and that his own experiences drive him to inspire the young people to be their best.
When we asked Marvin about being a support worker for Outward, he said “I love going the extra mile. My philosophy for supporting young people is to be consistent and maintain boundaries, which can be seen as tough love on occasions, but over the last two years I can see the results from the hard work we put in as a team.”
Marvin also stressed the importance of young people having a positive male role model in their lives. “I think that young people, especially the young men, see themselves in me and they are therefore able to open up to me more. They feel that ‘I get it’ as I see their difficulties in life from the perspective of somebody who has been through something similar. I would love to see more staff like me, from a similar background, as I know we have a lot to offer young people in society, to show them that they can achieve.”
“Every day is different as a support worker. Some days may be stressful but other days can be very rewarding. You see people we support grow and develop new skills around living independently.”
While Marvin’s passion for support work is clear, he attributes some of his success to his supportive managers, Lewis and Fiona. “I would like to thank Lewis for being such a great and supportive manager and always going the extra mile for us as a team. I would also like to thank Fiona for always being there to listen to any of my concerns.”
“Lastly I’d like to thank Outward for giving me an opportunity to showcase my talents in supporting a vulnerable young person at a supported living service for people with learning disabilities in 2018. When I saw a position within the Young People’s team in July 2020, I instantly thought I could make a difference in their lives. I had something I wanted to give back to the younger generation, something I never had when I lived in supported living as a young person.”
Well done Marvin and keep up the great work!
*not his real name