Meet Kayleigh, Centre Manager for the Tresham Centre for Disabled Children & Young People and Operations Manager for Westminster City Council and Kensington & Chelsea’s Bi-Borough Short Breaks Services.
1Can you explain your role in one sentence?I’m the centre manager for the Tresham Centre for Disabled Children & Young People and I also provide strategy and operations management for the Bi-Borough Short Breaks Services, which is part of the Children’s Services at Westminster City Council. My role is to ensure families, including children with disabilities, are provided for adequately.
Our Short Breaks service enables disabled children, young people and adults to have time away from their carer, explore new opportunities, have fun and broaden their social networks whilst promoting independence. They can provide families with an opportunity to have a break from their caring responsibilities, and can last from a few hours to a few days, evenings, overnight and weekends.
2How long have you been doing this job?I was tasked with setting up a new provision for disabled children in Westminster in April 2019 and I opened the Tresham Centre for Disabled Children and Young People near Church Street in June 2019. We only had two months to set up, which was challenging but we did it!
3Did you find yourself in this role by accident or by design?Both. I studied social anthropology and thought I would go into teaching, but I had two part-time jobs working with disabled children and it made me realise I wanted a more hands-on role.
4What’s the best part about your job? My role involves a lot of travelling across Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea, so I am not always based at Tresham Centre, but engaging with our children and young people is what I love most. It has been very challenging during the pandemic but engaging with children face to face and celebrating their achievements reminds me why I do this and the importance of the service we provide.
5What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you in your role? The pandemic. It was a surreal experience having to adapt our services overnight, and setting up a PPE production line at City Hall with colleagues to make up packs to send out to all families who were still being supported by carers in their home, and arranging for our Play Workers to support with grocery shopping and medication drop offs.
6What do you enjoy doing when you are not at work? I'm new to cycling and I recently purchased a road bike, which is great for exploring London. I love being outdoors, exploring. I used to manage the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award when working in school, and led the Bronze and Silver camping expeditions. Now I am labelled the expedition leader on all family trips.
7What do you like about this area? London is one of my favourite places. I love the culture and diversity and there’s always something to do after work.
8Where’s your favourite place to go for lunch in the local area? I usually go to Church Street market. Alfies Roof Top Kitchen on Church Street has an amazing carrot cake.
9Who is YOUR hero and what is it about them that inspires you? I’m lucky to have met both my great-grandmothers, Grandma Jane who was from Jamaica, and Granny Violet who was evacuated during WWII. Hearing their stories as a child and learning what they had achieved as strong women is what has shaped me today.
10If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?I’m mindful of my carbon footprint but I would love to visit South America. I have a scuba diving licence, as well as a motorbike licence, and I participated in a local clean up dive in Zanzibar before the pandemic. I would love to do this again.