Maybe it’s my Aquarian star sign or because I grew up in the social changing sixties and seventies but early on in my career I realised I needed to do a job that made a difference in some way to other people.
I have been at Turn2us since 2008, following several years at Parkinson’s UK and some time working as a self-employed health writer/editor.
Finding appropriate help
Finding appropriate financial help for people, based on their background, circumstances and needs - a fundamental aim of Turn2us - is what my work is all about.
As information specialist, I develop, write, edit and maintain a lot of the content on the Turn2us website – ensuring everything is written in plain English and is fully accessible.
I also support our helpline advisers by providing standard texts, information and training resources to help them respond to enquiries and use Turn2us tools effectively.
My goal is to make everything I produce easy to find, navigate and read. Much of this is about the words but also involves keeping an eye on images and design to ensure these are relevant and work well with the content. I also make sure that pages are easy to locate on the internet by using good key words and tagging.
I pride myself on being a demon writer, editor, website content/picture wrangler and a stickler for high standards, correct grammar and punctuation. Although, having spent my childhood in Australia, I still find that an antipodean word sometimes slips into my writing.
The impact of life-changing events
There’s an old saying that ‘life can turn on a sixpence’ and every day I see the truth of this. How just one, often unexpected, life event – bereavement, illness, disability, caring responsibilities, job loss, family situations, separation or divorce - can cause immense change and financial struggle. And so often, the people who use our services are dealing with more than one difficult circumstance.
It must be extremely frightening to find yourself in crisis, not knowing where the money is going to come from when you have a low income and lots of bills to pay – or you can't afford essential items you need, for instance: rent, repairs to your home, carpets, beds, fridges, washing machines or clothes.
Knowing that help is often available if you know where to go, I get great satisfaction from being part of the Turn2us team that points people to possible sources of support and seeing the tremendous difference that this often has on people’s situations.
Turn2us Grants Search
A large part of my time is spent improving the content on the Turn2us Grants Search.
To do this, I work with charitable funds to make sure the information we hold is up to date, accurate, fit for purpose and encourages people to make contact.
I enjoy talking to staff from grant-giving charities and promoting their work. It is interesting to see how the funds that have a long history of helping people – dating back to Victorian days or even earlier – have adapted their services over time to meet the changing needs of their clients. As well as financial support, many also offer other services, such as debt advice, education/training opportunities, support for carers and/or befriending schemes.
Given that awareness of the work that charitable funds do is still very low, I very much hope that my work helps these charities reach more people who could benefit from their support.