Real Lives

Dannielle draws on her own experience to help vulnerable young people

Dannielle Read has enjoyed a 13-year career working in supported housing and caring for young people with Hightown Housing Association.

She started as a Weekend Supervisor in Hemel Hempstead in 2009, while studying at University.  After completing her studies, she became a Housing Support Worker based in Watford and over time progressed to an Assistant Manager, then on to a Scheme Manager.

Dannielle continued to expand her role and became a Services Manager in young people’s housing which involved opening a new project in Luton in 2021. She started 2022 with a promotion to Operations Manager – overseeing seven young people’s services across Hemel Hempstead, Watford and Luton.

It’s clear to see that Dannielle is passionate about working with young people, explaining how her own life experience gave her valuable insight into what they may be going through at such a young age:  

“I had to leave my family home when I was 16 years old and I moved into a hostel, in a new town where I didn’t know anyone. My youth worker helped me through my most vulnerable years and introduced me to music production where I was able to focus on being creative. I wanted to be able to do the same for other people and that’s when I began to volunteer with helping young people. I believe that young people are often mislabelled and that everyone deserves the same chance in life.”

Dannielle is aware that her new role will come with challenges, but she has been pleased to see her new team so accepting and open to change. They have made her feel welcome in her new role.

To those considering working in a caring role Dannielle adds:

 “No two days are ever the same. The rewards are so worth every minute you put in. It’s one of those jobs where you can come away knowing that you have made a big difference in someone’s life. I can guarantee you’ll never be bored!”

 Thanks to Dannielle’s hard work and commitment some of the young people she helped over the years continue to stay in touch and come back to visit the service.

“We’ve just had a visit from someone I met when I first started,” said Dannielle

Bearing in mind it was nearly 13 years ago; they said that they still think about us and about how the residents are feeling at Christmas time. The previous resident brought in some donations to give out as Christmas presents. It just goes to show the impact the service has made.”

Edel Harris

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