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Livewest Support Worker Zak Caley, National Award Nomination

Category: Career and Talent Development, Support Worker, LiveWest, impactful service, Youth Work Week, Superb Staff Member Award


The awards celebrate the positive impact young people and staff are having across the country

Zak Caley


Our support worker has been recognised with a national award nomination for his dedication and hard work to the job. 

This week we are celebrating Youth Work Week – a celebration of the positive impact of youth work across the nation and the difference they make to people’s lives. 

Zak Caley, who has nearly 20 years’ experience working in supported housing, is up for the Superb Staff Member Award in the Room for Young People awards, held in Birmingham, on November 3. 

Zak has worked for the business for two years and became a Tenancy Sustainment Worker a year ago, joining the housing support team. 

He is based at Torbay Foyer supporting young people between 16 and 25 who have experienced homelessness or who were at risk of becoming homeless.

They are supported with finding accommodation, life skills and self-development to live independently.

Zak said: “I’m not sure who nominated me, but I’m really pleased to be nominated and grateful that people appreciate my hard work."

Zak, from Plymouth, has worked in various roles and different LiveWest projects across the south west. 

Zak said: “I do enjoy working in supported housing partly because not every day is the same. When I am able to help someone resolve whatever issue they may be experiencing I get a big sense of satisfaction."

Having run Torbay Foyer for the past 17 years, we were recently successful in tendering for the three-year contract  by Torbay Council to carry on developing the service with the option of a further two years.

Torbay Foyer, work closely with the community and making sure residents can access important services, is working towards getting a recognised accreditation with The Foyer Federation.

Zak added: “There are benchmarks that we have to meet to achieve accreditation, but I believe we’re well on the way.

“We have re-introduced lots of evening and weekend events. One night a week I will run a gaming event at the Foyer. My colleagues are doing arts and crafts events, cooking classes and various other events.

“I think residents appreciate being able to access staff outside of the normal working day. Sometimes the more informal atmosphere makes it easier to discuss any pressing issues."

The 41-year-old is surprised to be nominated as he feels what he is doing is just part of his normal role. He works closely with youth development workers and feels they really should be recognised as they are essential to providing the residents with the support they need.

Zak’s background in supported housing has included helping families, supporting offenders, working with people with Autism and single homeless adults. 

Zak has a 19-year-old son, Max, who he has seen develop into a young man and overcome all the normal struggles a young person faces.

Zak added: “If I'm honest, in the past sometimes I thought, that some teenagers don’t realise how easy they have got it.

"Having watched my son grow up and seeing some of the issues that he and his peer group have faced, gave me a good insight into what is really going on for some of our young people and some of the things we can do as a society to fix that.

“The thing I like most about my job, is being able to identify those issues that can be overcome and helping young people to do that. Seeing young people progress is what it's all about.”

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