How Truly Listening Makes A Big Difference
My name is Aerin Muschamp, I am currently studying Criminology at Coventry University. As part of my course I have chosen to do a placement year at Kairos Women Working Together. I chose Kairos after looking through the different charities that are based in Coventry. Once I found Kairos, I looked through their website and really agreed with their beliefs and aims for helping women. The work that Kairos does for women also relates to my course as they work with women in need, whether it be helping with their housing issues, supporting them through court trials and other forms of support.
I have just finished my first 6 weeks and I have already been given the opportunity to gain many new experiences. My days here are never quite the same. I participate in the sessions that are run every week – Blossoms for pregnant women and new Mums, Feeling Safe for young women at risk of sexual exploitation, housing drop-in where women can get crisis support and advice, and Warrior group, where women have the opportunity to build self-esteem. I’ve had the chance to speak to the women who come in for these groups and learn more about them and the challenges they face. I have also helped with the Outreach and Drop-in service which is run on Wednesday evenings, where we go to the Hillfields area and give out necessary supplies to any women who needs it whilst offering a hot drink, a chat, and crisis support. I’ve had the opportunity to shadow Support Workers who provide intensive one to one support and advocacy to women, helping them to set and reach their goals. Every week I make sure that all the donations that we receive are organised and accessible, so that we can give them out to service users, including clothes and food. I’ve been reaching out to companies in order to keep our donations in supply.
The other week I was given the opportunity to go to the spa with a group of young women, part of Feeling Safe’s group summer activity programme, which unfortunately was postponed because of the Coronavirus. This was an excellent opportunity to get to know some of the service users as well as a nice day out. It was great to see how this group support and encourage each other.
The Trauma-Informed Approach
I have also learnt about the trauma informed approach that is used here at Kairos, how it is a client-led, relationship based, non-judgemental way of supporting women at their own pace, who are currently experiencing trauma or have experienced trauma in the past. Trauma informed care is recognising and responding to trauma and trying to understand the trauma you have faced and the impact it might have on you. This approach aims to provide safe spaces for the women by creating a supportive environment that won’t add to trauma, it provides support based on strengths whilst understanding how trauma can affect your life. Kairos is against victim blaming and they don’t believe in pathologising the service user’s trauma.
Listening Makes A Big Difference
Through meeting lots of new people and encountering different situations I have learnt different ways of how to interact with people, how important it is to remain calm and neutral in these situations, and how truly listening to people and showing that you are listening makes a big difference. I’ve learnt how to work as part of a team whilst being under pressure and how controlled body language can make people more comfortable. These are skills I have learnt whilst gaining lots of new experiences from participating in services such as the groups we run and the outreach programme. Experiences I wouldn’t get the chance to have if not for my placement here at Kairos. I am very grateful for this opportunity and am excited to keep learning throughout the next few months here at Kairos.