Housing Occupational Therapist, Adult Services Department
(video link at bottom of page)
My name is Julie, I am a specialist Housing Occupational Therapist. I work for Hampshire County Council and Eastleigh Borough Council and it is a joint funded post.
My role is mainly trying to get disabled people housed appropriately within the Eastleigh borough, for instance I may work with somebody who uses a wheelchair and they may need wider doors, or a level access shower, or sometimes lowered worktops in the kitchen. As well as that I may get involved in just visiting them and making recommendations for things like stair lifts.
There is also a strategic side to my job, I'm involved with policies and procedures in helping more disabled properties to be built in Eastleigh, more inclusive housing and highlight the need wheelchair housing in the Eastleigh borough.
My partner was working in the North of the County, she was managing two Occupational Therapy teams and just I was offered this job she was offered a move down to manage the South West team which meant that we would be working in the same team in Eastleigh. We thought that would present a bit of a problem.
I was already anxious about working in this post, which was new for me, and I didn't really want to get worried about what people would think of the boss and her partner working in the same team. Secondly, we weren't really sure if we wanted to work together, it might be a bit odd, strange! And thirdly, we weren't sure how it would be viewed by Hampshire County Council, we didn't know if Hampshire could stop us working together by law so we decided that we would rather have the situation approved of than not.
The response was one of approval, the only thing that was highlighted to us was that instead of my line manager supervising me, i.e. my partner, she should be taken out of the loop and I was to be supervised by the Service Manager.
I've been in post 18 months and it has all gone pretty well, really, it’s a very, very interesting job and I really enjoy it.
We don't really think that it has bothered anybody in the team and we don't think that these days anybody really takes much notice of it, and I think that coming from a minority group myself helps me to be more empathetic towards others who are from minority groups.