Welcoming Residential Operational Lead Vicki Lindup
As the self-confessed “glue that holds everything together” at Innovate Services’ residential therapeutic care centres, we catch up with Operational Lead, Vicki Lindup. We talk openly about how Innovate Services helps young people transition out of long-term residential care and into family environments and how Vicki sees her role.
Vicki, could you tell us more about you – what brought you to Innovate?
Sure. I am just a few months into my role as the Operational Lead at Innovate Services’ first residential therapeutic care centre, and I already feel at home. It’s as if everything I have done in my career has led me to this role – working with a team that understands the importance of addressing the underlying therapeutic care needs of young people in residential care.
I’ve seen what the alternative looks like for young people. Before I moved over to children’s residential care in 2008, I worked within the HM Prison service for seven years. I found myself working with young offenders, and while this gave a sense of being a rewarding job by supporting the Young Offenders day to day, I was unable to address the root causes of offending. I wanted to work in a position where I could become part of something that would prevent young people from entering the criminal justice system in the first place. It was noted at the time that a lot of children ending up in Young Offenders had been through the residential system or links to having trauma or neglect in their early life. I already had friends who worked for a residential care company, where Emma Blakemore and Dana had also once worked. I moved there in 2007, where I progressed to Home Manager.
I had been working as a Home Manager for five years when I was approached by Innovate Services to develop its therapeutic residential care offering further. I am exactly where I need to be in my career – working with young people at a grassroots level while taking an operational lead.
How would you describe the role of Operational Lead?
As Operational Lead, I guess I’m the glue that holds everything together. I sit between our Director of Therapeutic Care and our team on the ground, working on projects across the country. I help ensure our residential care centres meet the care needs of each young person as we transition them into a place of permanency within 12 weeks (with an additional four-week placement support).
This means that every decision we take must be therapeutic and child-centred. Therefore, we have certain procedures that must be followed both during a young person’s stay with us and as they adapt to family life once they’ve left our residential care. I help coordinate this and ensure that the centre runs according to Ofsted and Regulation 44 inspections.
I oversee our centres’ day-to-day accomplishments, which means making sure young people have access to the therapeutic and educational support they need.
Therapeutic care is important. Could you tell us more about it?
Therapeutic care underpins everything we do at our residential centres. By having qualified therapists specialising in early years trauma and attachment issues on our team, we’re able to help young people understand why they feel the way they do. Most importantly, we equip them with the skills they need to manage their emotions and behaviour. We also involve identified foster carers or family members in the process so that they can understand the child’s lived experience. From a placement stability point of view, this is crucial because it means that both the foster carer/parent and the child can adjust to one and other, resulting in far fewer placement breakdowns.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Having worked in residential care for many years, it can be the hardest job in the world, not knowing if you’re making a difference. That’s why I find my role personally satisfying. I know that what we are doing at Innovate Services has a purpose and that motivates me every day. As a service, we’re making a positive difference in young people’s lives, which you hope they carry into adulthood.
Innovate is giving me a new drive and challenge to further my knowledge and use my experience to help develop others.
Having such an involved role, how do you take care of yourself?
Holding quite a lot of responsibility takes a lot of energy, which is why my dog Beryl is my saviour!
I used to wonder why people pamper and treat their dogs so much until I got one. Now I do the same. Beryl comes everywhere with us as a family and one of my favourite things to do is walking along the coast.
In ordinary times, I love to spend time with my family and friends as they are a big support network for me. As for so many of us, it has been difficult not seeing them during the pandemic, but we have been creative with staying in touch – making up zoom quizzes and facetiming! Or garden meets when permitted.
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