Careers Week: Pub Manager to Housing Officer, Carol Bishop’s Story
A former pub manager, hospitality and working with people always came natural to Carol so a career in over 55s housing was perhaps not an entirely unlikely step for the Meadow View Court housing officer.
“I started my career in housing in 2003, working with Abbeyfield as a deputy house manager at a supported home in Beckenham supporting around 15 residents,” says Carol, “my mum was actually a house manager from 1997 and all three of my children celebrated their first Christmases at the home.
“The job initially involved cooking and cleaning but when my mum passed away in 2006, I stepped up to working weekends, managing rotas, shopping and payroll etc. I was later appointed house manager of another of Abbeyfield’s Beckenham homes. It was great because it worked around my family and picking up the children from school.”
Following a merger of the supported homes with Rapport Housing & Care (RHC), Carol found herself managing five homes, sadly due to viability issues four of the homes were closed over the following years.
But in 2019, the executive team at RHC noticed Carol’s potential and offered her the role of housing officer at a 51 apartment new extra care housing scheme due to open in 2020 in Wateringbury.
“I felt honoured to be offered the job at Meadow View Court. In the lead up to the opening of the scheme I worked at RHC’s other schemes, Rosewell House and Lawson House, where I shadowed the housing officer, Jil, that was a great help as I’m keen to learn. I completed my CIH level 2 and am moving on to level 3 now. I’m also taking a mental health and leadership course, so I can support my staff.
“It was daunting opening the scheme and starting a new job during a pandemic but I’m grateful for the slower start as it’s given me a chance to get things up and running. There have been challenges of course, I think the hardest bit has been having to close the activity room and a takeaway service in the restaurant, I understand why we have to do it but it goes against all our values around companionship and tackling loneliness, I’m very much looking forward to being able to implement activities and have visitors in to see our scheme.
“Despite the challenges, the support from my manager, Denise, and everyone at head office has been invaluable and helped everything run smoothly in the first few months and I must say, after a year of working all over the place, it’s good to finally be in one place!”