EACH's chaplain - finding strength through weakness

EACH’s chaplain provides spiritual care for children and their families at the most difficult time. This is her story

By Tim Gibson

Alex South knows that some of her own experience of disability enables her to connect gently and empathically with children and young people who spend time at the Treehouse.

    EACH’s chaplain says that her weakness maybe her strength when it comes to offering spiritual care for children...  

Ever modest, EACH’s chaplain says that her weakness maybe her strength when it comes to offering spiritual care for children supported by the charity and their loved ones. She has a neurodegenerative condition, meaning she has to walk with the aid of a trolley.

And by showing her vulnerability to people who are facing tough challenges, she believes she can foster a connection and help them find strength.

“We all have our weaknesses,” Alex remarks. “We’re all carrying something, and when children and their families first meet me they often ask what’s wrong with me. It sounds odd, but seeing that I’m not in perfect physical health helps break down barriers. It gives us common ground on which to build relationships of trust.”

Building such relationships is precisely what Alex is there to do. On the day we meet her, she has been working with a family whose child recently died. It’s one of the most difficult parts of her job, but also among the most rewarding.

“We take a very broad attitude to spiritual care at EACH,” she says. “While I have a very strong Christian faith, I adopt a neutral approach with children and their families. The aim is to respect every tradition, regardless of the faith position it reflects.

“If a family has a ritual or a belief that helps them make sense of what’s going on, we honour it and help them to enact it.”

That is what Alex means when she talks about the trust that is essential to her role. “It is vital that people know they can rely on the chaplaincy team to respect their wishes,” she says. “Everyone deals with the challenge of a child’s diagnosis in their own way. Our job is to create the space for that to happen.”

Space is at the very heart of EACH’s chaplaincy provision. When Alex took on a project to explore the charity’s provision of spiritual care after working for years as a nurse and care team manager, she developed a clear idea of what was needed.

    We’re about so much more than treating symptoms and managing pain. We want children to live every second of their lives,...  

“I felt very strongly that we needed a room of our own. A space in which to hold people’s spirituality, whatever form it takes. Somewhere where children, their loved ones and staff can come to pause awhile, process their experiences, and try to make sense of things.”

So it was that The Haven was born. This is a room at the very heart of The Treehouse, EACH’s Ipswich hospice, deliberately set aside for chaplaincy work.

“The Haven often stands empty,” says Alex. “But that’s the point of it. It’s a room that people know is theirs for when they need some quiet time. If they want to use it, it’s available, free from other bookings. A place of stillness and calm.

“We provide a variety of resources that reflect different world religions, as well as humanism. There are comfortable chairs and candles to light. It is a safe space. Somewhere to draw breath. For many, it’s where they go to find their strength.”

Alex is understandably proud of The Haven, and pleased that similar spaces have been created at EACH’s other hospices. Step inside and you’ll see why: it’s a special place, shot through with the memories, hopes and fears of children, their loved ones and hospice staff. A place of becoming and growing, of pain and loss, of hope and sorrow.

“Spiritual care is very much about the whole person,” says Alex. “It is an important feature of the holistic approach that defines EACH and the hospice movement more widely. We’re about so much more than treating symptoms and managing pain. We want children to live every second of their lives, no matter how much time they have left.”

Such a conviction clearly drives Alex to develop EACH’s chaplaincy offering. As well as her own work with children, families and staff, she coordinates a team of volunteer chaplains who work across hospices. These are drawn from local faith communities and engage regularly with the EACH community. That way, says Alex, when they are called upon to offer pastoral care, they’re already well known and trusted by the people to whom they minister.

“Relationship building is at the heart of effective chaplaincy,” she says. “That involves a big investment of time, and of oneself. But it’s worth it, because the connections we make with people are profound and life-changing for us all.

“I feel as if I’m always growing in this job. It helps me make sense of who I am. I like to think it provides some hope to other people, even when they’re dealing with the most difficult circumstances. We’re all of us weak, all of us flawed. But by sharing together in the spiritual side of life, I believe we’re all made stronger.”

Published: 13 November 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

Just Recruitment is sponsoring EACH’s “Happy Christmas Ipswich” comedy evening, hosted by Griff Rhys Jones. To support the event or donate to EACH, please click here.

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Where the light shines in

You may also enjoy: When words run out: meet EACH’s art therapist

Jobs currently available

New job
Care Coordinator
Sector: Healthcare
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: BUC-CC
About the role

Back Up Care is recruiting for a Care Coordinator for their Colchester Office to work on the busy Healthcare desk.

Previous experience in scheduling care and support staff would be preferred and a healthcare background is an advantage. You will be extremely confident and well-presented and be able to use your own initiative.

This position will involve working alongside the Office Manager, supporting them with the day to day running of the desk.

The role will include:

  • Registration interviews with potential new candidates, and completion of all necessary compliance documents for successful candidates
  • Booking clients rotas to relevant active care staff, and ensuring that all care staff availability is booked to full potential
  • Service calls to clients that are using service meetings to ensure current clients’ needs are being met by Back Up Care
  • Telephone calls to prospect clients
  • Email and Mailers sent to prospect clients
  • Source leads for possible new business
  • Sales calls to obtain new business
  • Sales meetings to obtain new business
  • Ensure specialist software is updated with carer and client information and all bookings are entered onto the system
  • General administration duties
  • On-call rota duties

This requires you to work at an extremely fast pace, placing candidates into both temporary and permanent placements to match their qualifications, skills and experience.

There is a large amount of telephone calls liaison with candidates and clients, therefore excellent clear communicational skills are a must and excellent interpersonal skills are essential.

Other essential skills are:

  • An ability to work as part of a team and as a lone worker
  • A proven ability of effective time management and organisational skills
  • Excellent administrational skills are vital and attention to detail ensuring all candidates are compliant prior to assignment
  • Due to the requirements of the role, a driving licence and access to a vehicle for work purposes is essential

Holiday entitlement:

28 days holiday including public holidays, increasing to 33 days after 2-year service.

If you wish to apply for this role, please forward your CV to emma.brown@back-upcare.co.uk

Read more
New job
QA Manager
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Saffron Walden
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910873
About the role

Our client is seeking an experienced Quality Assurance Manager to join them on a permanent, full-time basis. This opportunity offers stability, longevity and professional development.

Reporting directly to the MD, the Quality Assurance Manager will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining and improving the Company's Quality Management System and ensure internal compliance
  • Working with all departments to ensure their procedures are being followed and to improve their internal and cross-functional processes and procedures
  • Ensure that the quality of current and newly introduced products is compliant and traceable
  • Coordinate Quality activities with all over departments
  • Develop and improve quality relationships with all customers of the Company
  • Responsible for all Quality activities and personnel in the Quality Department for the Company
  • Provide strong leadership in the day-to-day operations of the Quality department and mentor the members of the team
  • Establish performance goals for all departmental employees and monitor performance on a continual basis
  • Oversee all hiring, appraisal, training and discipline of Quality personnel
  • Member of the Company's Management team
  • Produce the Quality element of the company's annual Budget
  • Formulate the departmental strategy aligned to the overall Company strategy
  • Embed a Continuous Improvement culture within the Quality Dept and contribute to the Continuous Improvement programme across the site

Requirements:

  • HND or equivalent qualification in Engineering or a related technical field required
  • Minimum 5 years experience in a Manufacturing environment
  • Ability to articulate (verbally and in writing), defend and negotiate Quality expectations with internal and external customers at all levels of management
  • Good interpersonal skills with the ability to guide and educate/train at all levels
Read more
New job
Customer Service Administrator
Sector: Customer Service
Salary: £22,000 per annum
Location: Halstead
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910871
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting a well-regarded organisation at the forefront of its sector that is looking to add a Customer Service Administrator to its team, due to growth – based on the outskirts of Halstead.

The main purpose of the role is to service current and prospective customers by receiving and processing orders, enquiries and general information in a timely and courteous manner.

Key tasks include:

  • Answering incoming calls, giving product information, lead times, dealing with general enquiries and queries, redirecting calls to relevant departments
  • Raising and inputting orders and proforma invoices
  • Raising quotations
  • Amending orders, as required
  • Scanning documentation
  • Liaising with Areas Sales Managers and responding to their requests
  • Arranging couriers and/or carriers as required
  • Any general office associated duties

Key requirements for the role:

  • Excellent computer skills
  • Good eye for detail
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Courteous

Previous experience requirements:

  • Previous Customer Service Administrative experience gained within an office environment
  • Excellent telephone manner with the ability to communicate at all levels
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office and experience of in-house systems
  • Ability to multi-task and prioritise own workload
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Understanding of the importance of data protection and adherence to the process

Offering free parking and an excellent working environment, this is a great opportunity to join a growing team.

Working Monday to Friday 37.5 hours per week - offering a competitive salary and company benefits.

Read more
New job
Production Operative
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £8.91 per hour
Location: Needham Market
Role: Full Time
Contract: Temporary
Job ref: 910811
About the role

Want to work in a safe, clean environment?
And have the possibility of ongoing work?

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Temporary Production Operative to be based in Needham Market.

Duties include:

  • Ensure all final and completed products are packed to the customer specifications                               
  • Informing Line Leaders of defects found in the products
  • Keep machines supplied with packing materials and labels
  • Assist the Line Leaders with handovers and changeovers
  • Responsible for general cleanliness of the production area and removal of production and general waste
  • Check products on the line for quality and defects
  • Basic production duties carried out in a fast-paced environment

Working hours:

8.30am - 5.00pm Monday to Friday

Read more
Logistics Coordinator
Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: £24,000 per annum
Location: Ipswich
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910869
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting, a well-regarded, family-run business on the outskirts of Ipswich.

You will be responsible for assisting with the loads out operation of the business by ensuring that the process from collection to arrival at the final destination is fully supported by the relevant goods in haulage documentation.

You will also be supporting the sales function of the business by dealing with customer queries in terms of both sales and operations as well as assisting with various ad-hoc marketing campaigns. This is a very varied role and requires flexibility, commitment and a substantial desire to learn and grow with the flourishing business.

Duties will include:

  • Process orders and oversees the order to completion of paperwork
  • Facilitate the shipping of products from one destination to another
  • Arrange transportation with outside hauliers
  • Receive paperwork from the Weighbridge department and check and complete the paperwork within the allocated time allowed
  • Answer calls and emails relating to customer queries and log them on the CRM system and resolve any outstanding issues raised
  • Keep CRM records up-to-date
  • Work with the sales and operations team to ensure that high customer service levels are achieved and delivered to all customers you are responsible for at all times

Skills required:

  • Good Microsoft skills including Word, Outlook & Excel
  • Ability to work proactively on an independent basis as well as be a good team player
  • You will have the interpersonal skills necessary to develop and sustain effective relationships with team members of other departments and with all customers
  • Good attention to detail and analytical skills
Read more
Legal Secretary (Part-Time)
Sector: Law and Security
Salary: Up to £11.00 per hour
Location: Witham
Role: Part Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910868
About the role

Just Recruitment is delighted to be supporting an established business, based in Witham looking to add a highly-skilled secretary to their long-standing team.

The role will involve, audio typing, preparing documents, answering the phone, dealing with enquiries and assisting colleagues as well as directing queries as needed.

Key responsibilities to include:

  • Audio typing – dictation
  • Preparing letters and drafting documents
  • Handling diaries and booking appointments
  • Answering the phone and dealing with queries
  • General secretarial and office-based duties

As well as having experience in a secretarial position, you will have audio typing experience and excellent typing skills. The role requires you to have a good level of IT literacy, experience of Word (essential) and Excel would be useful. You will take pride in your work and have a caring and sympathetic nature.

Please note this role is part-time.

This is a great opportunity, offering a good pay rate and company benefits.

Read more