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So, what’s your role then? I’ve worked at Bromford as a locality coordinator in Staffordshire since November 2016 and whenever I hear this question, I know I need to take a deep breath before I dive into my spiel because, well, where do I start?

I’m fortunate enough to have a job that uses every skill I’ve acquired throughout my working life, especially in the fast paced world of teaching where being prepared for surprises and having the ability to ‘think on the fly’ and change direction at a second’s notice is absolutely essential. Imagine 30 little bodies sat on the carpet waiting for their lesson to start (a feat in itself to get them there in the first place) and the white board decides to have a day off. There really is no room for panic or despair, you have to have Plan B, C and D immediately ready to pull out of a hat before bedlam erupts.

The same can be true in this role – not the bedlam, of course, but it’s so important to be flexible and adaptive and be prepared to re-prioritise your ‘to do’ list! Anything can happen in any one day so, if you’re stuck in your ways or can’t leave a task half done, this job would be a real struggle. 

Communicator

Before life in a school, I worked as a communications professional and intranet editor for Tarmac where I managed and re-designed their intranet and won external awards for my electronic media and blog writing. Communication as a LoCo is absolutely key to every aspect of the job - it’s a real challenge working within a dispersed team and it’s important to find ways to reach all colleagues with important messages at the right time.

There are lots of messages that need sharing with our coaches, many quite complex, so it’s part of my job to interpret these and share them in a way that’s easily understandable and relevant for everyone in the team.

Our coaches are so busy that they need news in an easily digestible format, so every month I pull together all news and updates into a light-hearted, easy-to-read Mailchimp. I also create engaging ‘sound bites’ to drop quick reminders into our WhatsApp group and I keep Yammer up-to-date with events and services going on around Staffordshire for our coaches to share with customers. I also regularly use social media to keep abreast of all things going on across our locality and have close links with external partners including local councils, police and community groups.

Detective

Of course, it’s not just the light-hearted, creative stuff that I get involved with. I also handle all councillor and MP enquiries where customers have asked them to contact us about various issues they may be having with their homes or within their communities – this is where the detective in me comes out. I love pulling together the ‘case’, gathering information from various teams that I then craft into one whole response. Wherever I can, I help to resolve problems along the way to save the coach extra work. Building relationships is key to what I do and I’m on first name terms with most of our councillors now, in fact one of them calls me her ‘pen pal’!

Creator

Dealing with ambiguity and embracing the surreal are definitely requirements of this job and, again, my life in school gave me great experience of this. I love getting creative and using my imagination to make meetings and team events as engaging as possible and nothing is too off the wall when it comes to thinking of ideas for themes.

I’m very lucky that the rest of the team are the same as this makes for some great fun pulling these things together! Everything that we do has to have a purpose and add value to the business – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a bit fun along the way to make sure everyone gets the most out of it.

The creative aspect of the role also extends to designing flyers for our coaches to advertise community events as well as producing posters and online adverts for homes that we’re finding hard to let.

Data cruncher  

Some tasks are more process driven and require pure concentration - performance reporting being one of them. This part of the job requires good systems knowledge, a love of spreadsheets and the ability to accurately data crunch. Each month I produce a summary report of our key performance indicators for all 34 coaches.

Although I do prefer the creative work, I get a lot of satisfaction from this as it was something that initially sat outside of my comfort zone and I do enjoy a challenge. It’s definitely who you know sometimes and I’m grateful for the excellent systems and Excel gurus we have in Bromford who I’ve been able to ask for help. Funnily enough, people ask me for help with Excel now and I’m more than happy to oblige.

Any other duties

So, what does that leave? Managing all the communal TV licences for our schemes in Staffordshire, creating patch bibles, admin and more admin, minute taking, report running, sandwich ordering, banking (occasionally), ordering resources for schemes, actioning subject access requests for Governance, relationship building and dealing with customer enquiries at Stowe Road. The list goes on and I’m never bored.

Our neighbourhood coaches cover the whole of Staffordshire and, although I’m based in Lichfield, I try to get out and about when I can, making sure I’m visible across the whole locality. I love spending time with our wonderful coaches. I think it’s so important to have regular reality checks by going out with them occasionally on their patches and meeting our customers. It’s the only way to properly appreciate their challenges and try and find ways where my role can extend further to help support them, whether it’s escalating ongoing issues or advising them on simpler ways to do things.

 

 

When you’re supporting 34 coaches, 4 locality managers and the head of locality, you have to be proactive and ready for anything. Everyone has different needs and the key to this job is trying to be one step ahead all the time. Time in role certainly helps with this as you get to predict what your colleagues are going to want. I think I’m getting there with this now and I love nothing more than replying “it’s already done”.

 

Mayonnaise

I’ve thought about what my elevator pitch would be if I was asked about my role and I think I’d need to just reply with a string of words – administrator, organiser, communicator, co-ordinator, designer, creator, sign-poster, relationship builder, detective, information gatherer, data cruncher and problem solver.

If localities was a sandwich, I’d say that the aim of my role is to be the mayonnaise – the binding ingredient that stops everything falling out!

 

If you're interested in a career at Bromford, why not take a look at our latest vacancies?

Locality coordinator in Staffordshire, previously a primary school HLTA. Prior to that an award winning comms professional. Never in my comfort zone for long!

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