Victoria has been a dedicated and compassionate team player at BCHA for the last three years, continuously supporting customers across a variety of BCHA projects with a psychologically and trauma informed approach. Having first experienced BCHA as a BCHA Learn customer, Victoria has since supported survivors of modern slavery and now continues to share her expertise as a relief support worker. Here, she tells the story of her journey with the organisation:

 “I have known about BCHA’s work for over 25 years, having attended a BCHA Learn program 11 years ago as a single mum on benefits. The team certainly ignited something inside of me and I got my first job in years whilst on their program.

“Fast forward 8 years and I joined BCHA as a specialist support worker supporting modern slavery survivors. I was based within the safe houses supporting women and their young children. This was a hugely complex role, as tasks could be anything from dealing with mental health and hospital appointments, to taking someone for an asylum interview, or accompanying them to solicitors.

Victoria Sim, Relief Support Worker
Victoria Sim, Relief Support Worker

" Yet I consider my time with the Liberty Project to be my biggest achievement, as I was giving our customers the input to feel safe, helping them create a network of help so they can recover and build a new life."

“I have now become a relief support worker, so I get to enjoy working within many teams across the organisation from mental health support at Millennium house and young persons support at Waverly House, to supporting women at the refuge and respite rooms. The diversity of projects I can get involved in is definitely my favourite part of working for BCHA and every team I work with are always so welcoming and helpful.”

“As a support worker I believe that all customers should been seen and encouraged to engage. Due to the restrictions of Covid-19 it was important for me to carry on working and seeing customers face to face as much as possible, due to the risk of mental health deterioration and isolation. So even if it was a 5 minute welfare check at the door, it mattered. I truly believe in putting the customer at the heart of everything we do, so I am here to work in their interests.

“As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as a difficult non-engaging customer, you just need to be able to find the right way to engage with them. Working for BCHA allows me to be adaptable to the customer’s needs, put them first and give them the respect and time to feel valued. By giving a little consistency, positivity and understanding you get to see the gratitude and growth of customers. Seeing customers smile and watching a person’s self-esteem and confidence grow is by far the biggest reward of the job.

“BCHA has supported me with flexible working so that I could attend an access course in Substance Misuse Practitioner and now I have joined relief so that I can support myself through University. I have just completed my first year and thanks to the work experience I have at BCHA I am able to contribute in lectures regarding asylum, VAWG, homelessness, substance misuse and mental health. After working at Liberty and with sex workers, I hope to move onto a career in sexual exploitation in a social worker role.

“I’m grateful to BCHA for the independence I have to support my three daughters and myself as a working woman, which was one of my biggest goals when I first attended the BCHA Learn program all those years ago.

Throughout my time of knowing and working for BCHA I have watched the organisation progress and seen first-hand just how many people have benefited from its work. I look forward to seeing BCHA continue to grow as a person-focused and community based organisation, empowering people to live productive, happy lives.”


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