Group 263

Hannah’s career journey at Southwark

In March 2018 I joined Southwark as a locum Commissioning Officer.  At this stage in my career I didn’t know much about the community, I just knew that I wanted to move to London, and Southwark was the first interesting opportunity that presented itself.

My first impressions of Southwark is that, as an organisation there is a true willingness to work differently to support people in new ways. In my experience there is less ‘red tape’ in Southwark, and greater flexibility to collaborate and identify solutions which I found very motivating.

Right from the start, I loved my new role and have developed a supportive relationship, built on mutual trust with my manager at the time. I had the support to work creatively on a variety on different opportunities to expand opportunities. I could see a future in Southwark and so applied for a permanent role which was successful approximately one year later.

I not only enjoyed working in the borough, I also chose to move into Southwark, as I love the dynamic and diverse environment.  It’s an amazing borough to work and live in. I enjoy the closeness, and feeling part of the community that I serve in my working life. Southwark comprises lots of green space, and the culture and art scenes are thriving so I quickly found lots of venues and spaces to enjoy with my friends. 

At the end of 2019, an opportunity came up to move into Adult Social Care. I was quite apprehensive at the time to move – but had worked with a number of colleagues on projects and had some excellent relationships so a move felt less intimidating. 

I started as Principal Occupational Therapist in December 2019. This was a new role for the Council, and I had a high degree of control to shape how I felt the role could be delivered, which was a real privilege. 

It was an unconventional  experience starting a new role shortly before the Covid pandemic started. It was an interesting time as I saw colleagues much more regularly than friends and family. This experience really strengthened our bond and commitment to, and we were able to support each other through this challenging period.

Everyday activities that most people take for granted can become challenging at best or impossible at worst due to poor health or disability. It’s an occupational therapist’s role to focus on how to improve circumstances that have become challenging for people. This we do by focusing on the person’s ability to participate in daily life.  Occupational Therapists teach strategies and adapt the environment to keep people as independent and safe as possible, and address the barriers to people staying connected within their local community. We work in a strength based way, focusing on the skills and resources of the person and their network, and collaborate to find opportunity for improvements. 

We are always mindful that anyone can become unwell or disabled at any stage of their lives and, in view of this, we work with a broad range of people with very different needs.  It is very motivating to see the positive impact of our work, in particular supporting people to remain living at home in their preferred environment.

I’m really proud of the work we do in Adult Social Care Occupational Therapy. We achieve some fantastic outcomes with clients, and the level of passion, specialism, expertise and problem solving skills across the teams is truly inspirational. We make a difference to people’s quality of lives. 

I am really proud of our staff. There are a number of Occupational Therapists who have progressed a career into Management in Southwark and it has been amazing to observe their growth. There are also colleagues who have moved on to senior positions in other areas. Whilst it’s always hard saying goodbye (professionally) to great OT’s I am really proud that working in Southwark Occupational Therapy can be a springboard to different achievements- and I continue to engage in London-wide work with many.  

A career in adult social care is more like a vocation than just a job. I started working in social care because I wanted to make a positive contribution in my working life, and I’m incredibly lucky to have found the right role for me which helps to strengthen and develop my skills, and I have learned so much from many peers and colleagues.

More recently I have participated in two projects- Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and Southwark Stands Together (SST) which have involved listening to staff and developing decisive action plans to address racism and other forms of discrimination. It has been a real privilege to work with a broad range of colleagues. I think the WRES and SST projects are a good reflection of the working culture in Southwark- caring and compassionate, open to listen, willing to evolve.  

My colleagues have become mentors and friends.  I recently bought a flat independently, a milestone that I thought was out of reach when I was a younger person starting my social care career. I received many cards and good wishes at work and was so touched that my colleagues recognised this personal acheivement, and wanted to celebrate with me. 

There aren’t many people out there that can say they love Mondays… but I am definitely one of them! Each week brings different challenges and is always very busy, but I have very high job satisfaction and positive work identity, and am grateful that I have found my place at Southwark.

If you wish to learn more about Occupational Therapy opportunities, in Southwark or perhaps arrange a work experience day please use the contact form below.

 

Hannah Moorhouse

Occupational Therapist

Ba (hons) Sociology (2008)

Msc Occupational Therapy (2011)

Hannah has been a welcome addition to Southwark Adult Social Care. She joined the service during a time of challenges and change and her breadth of experience across Commissioning and Adult Social Care has placed her in a good position to understand the service requirements and effect change. 

Hannah  is passionate about her job and about supporting Southwark Social Care users and their families. During her time in Adult Social Care she has been involved in a number of different projects to ensure service improvements and innovations take place; including Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) and Southwark Stands Together (SST).

Hannah’s authenticity and collaborative approach to her work helps to effectively resolve queries to improve the direction for the service. 

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