Staff Stories – Gemma

How long have you worked for the organisation?

I have worked for the organisation for 2 years.

What is your current role and briefly what does your job entail?

I am the Communications Manager in the Fundraising Team.

I am responsible for facilitating and supporting effective communication both across the organisation and externally to the wider public. I manage and develop our eplatforms ie website, social media etc to ensure they uphold and promote our reputation, mission, achievements and opportunities.

I design and ensure our external promotional materials are high quality, consistent and engaging. Monitor and work alongside local and national media. Draw up communication plans and schedules supporting various departments such as fundraising, recruitment, training etc.

What made you apply for a job with us?

Many reasons! When I worked for other local charities I was always aware of the shining reputation of WCHP (now called Turning Tides) – I had met several staff members at various community events and they had quite an impression on me for their professionalism and passion.

I wanted to continue in the charity sector and work somewhere that had a growing scope for communications.

I felt I could contribute and learn a great deal from the charity. I wanted to get closer to the people we supported so that I could help to erode any misconceptions that might exist through my communications role.

I wanted to get back out into the community where I lived, meet new people, gain new insights and experiences and work towards a common goal that I am passionate about.

I really feel that I have contributed and made a difference within my role and that matters a great deal to me. I know there is so much more to achieve and I find that challenge really thrilling.

What do you feel are the main benefits of working with us?

I genuinely have never worked alongside such hard working and dedicated people before. I really appreciate the accessibility of the Chief Executive – all staff can ask him questions about operations, delivery, strategy and much more at the staff consultative committee (YourVoice).

We have an Annual Staff Conference where we review and celebrate all we have achieved together and plan the next year’s strategy and focus. Wellbeing is high on the agenda too – especially evident during the Covid lockdown where working life has changed greatly. HR have adapted quickly and provided supportive information to ensure we are looking after ourselves.

Everyone is so approachable, supportive and inclusive. We have offices elsewhere but I feel very connected to staff across all our projects. As our services encompass a wide area in West Sussex this connection denotes how close our working relationships are. We are unified by everyone’s passion towards our mission – to end local homelessness.

There are numerous opportunities to work directly with clients on projects. In my role, I have never felt removed from the work of the charity. I genuinely feel proud to work for Turning Tides. I have seen the difference we have made and heard clients saying that we have literally been their last hope.

We really do go the extra mile, something that is very important to me. We all work hard and we do that because we care!

What do you love about your job?

I work alongside our clients on various projects and that makes such a difference to my role. My communications are founded upon the need to convey our clients’ voice with real authenticity. Having the privilege of listening to their personal struggles is something I never take for granted. I feel very connected to our mission.

I feel humbled and inspired by the journeys our clients go through. To see their hopes fulfilled makes me feel complete.

I have met wonderful colleagues whose energy and enthusiasm for their work is infectious. I really feel inspired by their tenacity and dedication. We all want to excel in our roles and I feel there is ample opportunity to do this in very creative ways.

Wherever I have worked I felt like I made a difference, but never more so than here.

What would you say for anyone thinking of applying to work with us?

Go for it! You will learn so much and ultimately feel proud of being a part of such a well-respected charity. We are continually looking for new opportunities and areas for development which makes it an exciting place to be.

There is a lot to achieve and we do work hard but you get to see the changes and transformations. There won’t ever be a dull moment and that is really thrilling and motivating. You will feel you are doing something of true value.