"Working in an Approved Premises is a job like no other...It's an exciting environment to be in."

Megan is an Out of Hours Intervention Worker at Hestia's Approved Premises. She talks about the day-to-day activity, work/life balance and what she's learnt in the role.

Out of Hours Intervention Worker

I started my role as an Out of Hours Intervention Worker at one of Hestia’s Approved Premises straight after graduating from university, where I’d been studying Criminology.

I’ve been in this role for eight months now. I’ve always wanted to work with offenders and ex-offenders, and after a short period of volunteering at Pentonville Prison, I decided that this is what I wanted to be doing: supporting people to live a more legitimate life and helping them to achieve what they want to achieve.

What do you do in an Approved Premise?

Ultimately, my role is to support the residents living at Hestia’s Approved Premises through the night. If they have any problems, we are there to address them. This could be supporting someone who has been self-harming, or someone under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but it can also be just sitting with someone who can’t sleep and needs someone to talk to.

My role can also include offering advice and helping people to work out their goals. Recently, I helped a resident to find a boxing class they wanted to attend. It can be as simple as that. Some of the people we support have been in prison for 10 years and don’t know how to use the internet.

It’s incredibly rewarding work. You build a bond with the residents. Everyone has a different story, and you get to hear their stories and find out what motivates them in life. When you see someone achieve their goals and move on, it’s brilliant. One woman our team supported recently is just about to start a course to become a Train Instructor. That was something she’d always wanted to do.

Work life balance 

As an Out of Hours Intervention Worker, my shift starts at 9:30pm and finishes at 8:30am. The shift pattern is four nights on, four nights off though, which I’ve found is great for maintaining a healthy work life balance. It’s quite easy to switch between work mode and social life mode and I get a lot more done in four days off.

At first, I felt a little tired after doing night shifts but once you adapt to it, it become second nature. My biggest tip to anyone working night shifts is get blackout curtains! I have them and I sleep perfectly fine during the day. Night shifts have also enabled me to ease my way into working with offenders and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to learn from my colleagues.

This role isn’t for the fainthearted, and you have to enjoy a challenge. You have to be proactive and ready to handle a crisis situation. Anything can happen during the night. However, these challenges are rewarding, as you know you’ve helped someone out.

I’ve learnt so much during the role and become a lot more openminded. I’ve learnt that there’s a reason behind everyone’s actions. There’s still a lot of stigma around offenders and people tend to dehumanise others because of what they’ve done.

In April, I’ll be moving to day shifts, and then my hope is to become an Intervention Officer, where I’d get to work more directly with individual residents. There’s lots of room for progression.

Working in an Approved Premises is a job like no other. Every day is different. There's always something happening. There's always someone new. There's always a new story to hear. It's an exciting environment to be in.

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