Millie is the housekeeper at West London Mission on Seymour Place, which provides vital resources for over 100 homeless people every day, supporting 20-30 into accommodation each month.
1Can you explain your role in one sentence?I am the housekeeper at West London Mission. I start each day with checking that the toiletries are replenished in the bathrooms, ready for our guests when they arrive to have a shower. I then head to the kitchen to do any washing up and check whether the chef needs anything. I will run out and get anything he might need, ready for him to be able to serve breakfast to our guests. I work with a colleague called Jolanta and she’ll take over from me, so that I can see what else needs to be done cleaning wise. I get involved in everything – sorting donations, organising materials and at the moment I am helping to prepare everything we’ll need to take for the Sleep Out event at the end of this month.
2How long have you been doing this job?I have worked for West London Mission for 3 years and 10 months. Before this job I was a housekeeper in a care home
3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?I used to work as a childminder and when I wasn’t looking after children I volunteered at a homeless shelter in Earl’s Court. I always wanted to work with the homeless and so when I stopped childminding and saw this job advertised, I applied quickly. Instead of phoning up about the role, I turned up here to ask for an application in person. The rest as they say is history.
4What’s the best part about your job ?The people. When guests come here for the first time or new colleagues start working here, I always say, ‘welcome to the family’. Everyone is just so wonderful and welcoming.
5What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your job?Sometimes I go out and help the fundraisers at events in the community. A couple of years ago we were out at an event at Christmas time. The Mayor was there and lots of choirs were performing and it was so cold. The DJ at the event could see I was freezing and so let me go behind the DJ decks and warm up for a bit. That felt a bit strange but it was a lot of fun.
6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work?I suppose I am always helping someone. I have been helping a former carer to declutter her house. I encourage her to spend a little time each day when she gets home from work, starting to sort through things. I help my best friend, who I have known since my school days. Her daughter has a child with autism and I support them. Then there is my grandson. He is eight and I love looking after him.
7What do you like about this area? I love the fact we have Hyde Park right on our doorstep. It is such a lovely place to go and walk, get fresh air and just to see people enjoying themselves. My grandson had a surprise 6th Birthday party in the park. I was responsible for getting him to the party. It was rather nerve-racking as I had to find my family in the park and cover his eyes when we got close, but he was amazed and every time we go to the park now, he reminds me about the party. When my children were growing up I took them to Hyde Park, and then children I used to childmind. It is a very special place to spend time.
8Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch in the local area? The Lisson Grove fish and chip shop. They do the best fish and chips. I have been going for years. You have to try it.
9Who is YOUR hero and what is it about them that inspires you?My heroes are all my colleagues here at West London Mission, Seymour Place. From the Manager, the deputy manager, the fundraisers, project workers, interns, the chef, the domestics , medical team, podiatrist, opticians, dentist and the amazing volunteers who help us tremendously every day – everyone is so friendly and hardworking. They are all unsung heroes
10If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?Hawaii, although I have been saying that ever since I started work. Maybe I will get to go there one day.