Women Behind CLiCK - Lecksie
In this edition of Women Behind CLiCK, Anna sits down with Lecksie (CLiCK Women’s Worker, Highlands) to find out about her experience, approach to support, and the role she thinks CLiCK can play in amplifying women’s voices.
Let’s start with you and your background. So tell me a bit about that and what made you decide to go for the role of CLiCK Women’ Worker.
During Uni I was working part time as a Criminal Justice Officer, in Criminal Justice Social Work Inverness. After graduating, I was looking for full-time work. It was my boss that said, y’know, “this is a new role that’s going to be based at the Castle, why don’t you go for it?”. I was really interested, especially because my degree was in Sociology and Criminology. Prior to this role, I was working on the Women’s Programme one day a week – where we provided a holistic approach to supporting women. That role gave me an insight into the barriers that women face in day-to-day life: childcare, finances, relationships – y’know, whatever it is. So, I think when the CLiCK role came up, I thought it would be really good since I have some sort of experience in providing this style of support already.
What do you think are the values that guide your work?
Oh that’s a good question. When I was five months pregnant with my youngest child, I was made redundant and all of a sudden a job - which I had for years - was no more. I already had an older child and I suddenly found myself – this was just after the recession as well – out of work with two young babies and a house to support. I was like, “What am I going to do with my life!”. So, I had to make the decision: do I go back into the same sort of work – which was reception work – or do I go back to study to do something I actually want to do. I suppose it’s going to study that’s helped me to feel that, y’know what, whatever happens in your life, it’s not always going to be like that – it could well get better. So, I suppose that’s what guides my values. No matter how bad you’re feeling at this moment, it’s not going to last forever. Things will change. For me that change is obviously working full time, in two different roles. I love what I do. I have a qualification I never dreamt I would get. So, I suppose that guides my values a lot. It’s about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and moving on.
So that personal thing that you’ve gone through affects your approach and how you would support women. So thinking about that, what might women expect if they were to refer themselves to Lecksie in the Highlands?
So, I’m very open minded. Nothing a woman can say will shock me. I don’t know if I like the term ‘non-judgemental’, I find it quite derogatory. But I will not judge a woman on any aspect of her life. Believe me, I’ve heard and seen a lot in my time. I suppose the listening skills is one of the key skills I bring to the women that I work with. Y’know, we’ve got two ears and one mouth for a reason. So, I think it’s really important to be an active listener, and to show women that you are taking them on board and validating their feelings and that they feel respected for that. If someone is going to open up to you, you have to be grateful that they are choosing you as somebody that they feel comfortable with.
Sounds great! So you’ve already talked about some of the ways you would make women feel comfortable and listened to if they come to you. But, how would you go about breaking down the barriers that might stop them coming to you in the first place?
So, I think first and foremost, it’s important to say that the women behind CLiCK are actually women. We’re all real. We all have lives. We’re all human and we all get the struggles that come with day to day life. We know some struggle more so than others. But if there is something we can do to help you then we will.
And what about for a woman who just wants to come for a bit of advice, who maybe isn’t struggling as such. What would you say to her?
We all dish out advice daily to our friends or work colleagues, pals or whatever. So that’s not a problem, we can be that listening ear for a coffee and a chat. Sometimes you just need somebody to vent to - that’s ok. Come and talk and get things off your chest. We will take you seriously, no matter how big or small your problem or question is. If a woman just wants to have a chat or if she’s got something major going on, you know, we’re there to help you for as long as it takes.
So how do you think CLiCK as a service can meet the needs and wants of women?
I think for women, CLiCK is a service that’s going to radically change things, or hopefully! It’s a demographic of women that are missing, it seems like they are forgotten about. I think “Your Voice” is a really important part of CLiCK for women to actually be able to guide their own support. To be able to say “we want this, we want that”, y’know, “this is what we need support with”. That’s a good thing for us as a service to be able to have so much input from women who come to us and for them to be able to shape the service around their needs. I think it’s really important that we don’t come at women saying “This is what you should do, this is what you shouldn’t do”. Who are we to be saying that? Women need to be telling us what it is they want - and we need to listen.
What are your hopes for the women who might contact CLiCK?
I suppose my overall hope is, whatever the reason a woman contacts CLiCK for, she’s going to get what it is she came looking for out of the service. So whether that is, she is in absolute crisis or just wants someone to chat to about how she is feelings. As long as we can provide that then I’m happy. It doesn’t have to be a big, huge display, you know it could be something small and seemingly unimportant but for that woman it might be massive and an important part of their lives. So I’m hoping that if women contact CLiCK, they will able to build that relationship with workers. They will be able to feel respected, trust is a really important part. If they don’t trust who they are working with, that’s going to create a barrier to how we can best support them.
How do you think we can foster that trust with women?
I think trust is something that is going to take time. It’s all very well us saying “Oh you can trust us!”. It takes time to slowly build trust. I have known women in the past who have taken to a worker straight away. Other times, that doesn’t happen as quickly. It’s all down to the type of person the worker is and the type of person the woman is. They might want to hit the ground running and say “Right I want this, this, this and this done” or they might just test the waters a wee bit first and go for a coffee and move slowly. Building trust is really important to have in relationships in any type of service. You’re not going to open up to someone you don’t trust. If a woman is happy to go and take it slowly, then we will take it slowly with her.
So final question. What would you say to a woman who was thinking about accessing Click?
So, if she is thinking about accessing Click, I would say she is already thinking about something she wants to discuss. So, she’s past that pre contemplation stage, she’s contemplating that there’s something there that’s bothering her or that she would like help or support with. If you need help or support then give us a try and see how we go! I think even just having that one to one contact with someone, whether it’s on the chat or over a message or something, just knowing there is somebody out there to support you. Give us a go and see how we measure up!