'I want to inspire young people’: Support worker wins national award
- Credit: Marvin Hamilton-Chambers
A Hackney support worker won a national award for his work with young people with learning disabilities and autism.
Marvin Hamilton-Chambers, 35, won Best Support Worker in the UK at the National Learning Disability and Autism Awards 2022 at a ceremony in Birmingham on July 8.
The Islington-born support worker, who has a Jamaican and Panamanian background, works at Outward, a supported housing provider and charity, in Hackney.
He said: “I didn’t think I was going to win, I was just grateful to be nominated. When they called my name, I couldn’t believe it. I think I just sat there for like five seconds to process and my manager just told me: you know you’ve won.”
In his role as a young people’s support worker, Marvin helps people living at Hackney's Young People’s Supported Accommodation, which is an Outward-managed organisation providing short-term accommodation to people aged between 18 and 21.
The charity currently provides accommodation and support to ten young people in Hackney who need a place to live because they are homeless, have fallen out with their families, or are asylum seekers.
Marvin said: “Our aim is to help young people build independent skills so when they leave, they have these skills. Every young person is different because they are all on their own journey.
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"Some of them are already very independent but some of them have gone through a lot so we help them especially with their emotional needs or any practical things.”
The support Marvin and his colleagues provide includes, for example, teaching young people how to deal with finances or budgeting, discussing mental health, safe sex, and positive relationships or helping them find a job.
The 35-year-old support worker himself lived in supported housing when he was younger and understand the necessary qualities of a good support worker, such as being a good listener and creating boundaries.
He said: “It’s something that I’m passionate about so I do it because I love it and I actually want to make a difference in a young person’s life.
"It’s very rewarding and it’s nice to see people coming out of the service, where they were then and where they are eight months later. I love seeing that journey and the growth.”
Throughout their time at Outward Marvin hopes to inspire young people and help them develop into confident young adults.
He said: “I tell the young people that it doesn’t matter what you achieve, how small it is, every achievement is a big achievement and I think some of them have not heard that before, they’ve not heard anyone really encourage or support them.”
Marvin hopes to inspire more young people of all backgrounds to become support workers and make a difference in people’s lives.
He said: “If you’re thinking to go for a job like it do it, take a chance, inspire! I’m so lucky to do what I do and I’m really passionate about this job.”
When Marvin started working as a support worker two years ago it was primarily so he could support his career as an actor.
Having gone to performing arts school and completed an Inclusive Performance course at the Chicken Shed, an inclusive theatre company, Marvin is still developing his career in theatre and TV whenever he finds time.
For now, however, the north Londoner is focused on his job as a support worker and proudly displays his award in his living room cabinet.
“I just want to inspire all young people, different backgrounds, different races, different genders to tell them that they can do it, you can make something of your life and turn a negative into a positive. Don’t let what you’ve been through be the story of your life,” he said.
“You can write your story and you can write your life so don’t let what you’ve gone through be the reason that holds you back in life.”
To find out more about Hackney's Young People’s Supported Accommodation see www.hackneylocaloffer.co.uk