Hackney youth support worker wins national award

08:36 July 29, 2022

11:43 am July 29, 2022

A Hackney support worker has won a national award for his work with young people with learning disabilities and autism.

Marvin Hamilton-Chambers, 35, won the UK’s Best Support Worker award at the 2022 National Learning Disability and Autism Awards at a ceremony in Birmingham on July 8.

The Islington-born support worker, who has Jamaican and Panamanian roots, works at Outward, a supported housing provider and charity, in Hackney.

He said: “I didn’t think I was going to win, I was just grateful to be nominated. When they called my name, I couldn’t believe it. I think I just sat there for about five seconds to process and my manager just said to me, you know you won.

Marvin Hamilton-Chambers has won the UK’s Best Support Worker award at the Learning Disability and Autism Awards 2022
– Credit: Marvin Hamilton-Chambers

In his role as a youth support worker, Marvin helps people living at Hackney’s Young People’s Supported Accommodation, an externally run organization that provides short-term accommodation for people aged 18-21.

The charity currently provides accommodation and support for ten young people from Hackney who need accommodation because they are homeless, have fallen out with family or are asylum seekers.

Marvin said: “Our goal is to help young people learn independent skills so they have those skills when they go. Each young person is different because they are all on their own journey.

“Some of them are already very independent, but some of them have been through a lot, so we help them especially with their emotional needs or practical things.”

The support that Marvin and his colleagues provide includes, for example, teaching young people how to manage finances or budgeting, discussing mental health, safer sex and positive relationships or helping them find a job.

Marvin Hamilton-Chambers won his category at the 2022 Learning Disability and Autism Awards

Marvin Hamilton-Chambers won his category at the 2022 Learning Disability and Autism Awards
– Credit: Marvin Hamilton-Chambers

The 35-year-old support worker himself lived in supported housing when he was younger and understands the qualities necessary for a good support worker, such as listening and creating boundaries.

He said: “It’s something I’m passionate about, so I’m doing it because I love it and I really want to make a difference in a young person’s life.

“It’s very rewarding and it’s nice to see people come out of the service, where they were then and where they are eight months later. I love seeing this journey and the growth.”

Throughout their time at Outward, Marvin hopes to inspire young people and help them grow into confident young adults.

He said: “I tell young people that no matter what you accomplish, no matter how small, every accomplishment is a big achievement and I think some of them have never heard that before, they haven’t heard no one really encourage or support them.

Marvin hopes to inspire more young people from all walks of life to become support workers and make a difference in people’s lives.

He said, “If you’re considering doing a job like this, do it, give it a shot, get inspired! I’m so lucky to do what I do and I’m really passionate about this work.

Marvin Hamilton-Chambers is a youth support worker in Hackney

Marvin Hamilton-Chambers is a youth support worker in Hackney
– Credit: Marvin Hamilton-Chambers

When Marvin started working as a support worker two years ago, it was mainly to be able to support his acting career.

After attending a performing arts school and taking an inclusive performance course at the Chicken Shed, an inclusive theater company, Marvin continues to develop his career in theater and television whenever he finds the time.

For now, however, the North Londoner is concentrating on his job as a support worker and proudly displaying his award in his living room cupboard.

“I just want to inspire all young people, from different backgrounds, from different races, from different genders to tell them that they can do it, you can do something with your life and turn a negative into a positive. Don’t let what you’ve been through be the story of your life,” he said.

“You can write your story and you can write your life, so don’t let what you’ve been through be the reason holding you back in life.”

For more on supported housing for young people in Hackney, see www.hackneylocaloffer.co.uk

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