An interview with Naomi Harding
Naomi Harding worked on NCS delivery in summer 2017, then moved to her current role as NCS relationship manager for East Surrey in 2018. Originally from Australia, Naomi has a background in nutrition and public health, and previously spent two summers working in New York with homeless children at city shelters.
A typical working day is…
“I work on a specific geographical area within Surrey, finding and maintaining relationships with charity partners for young people taking part in NCS to visit and support during their time on the programme.
Our partnerships on NCS are crucial, so we aim to work with partners who we think will be engaging for the young people and who will benefit from being involved with NCS. It’s vital that both the charity’s service users and the young people in the programme are safeguarded, and understand how they will work together over the course of the programme.”
My favourite thing about my job is…
“Finding out that the partnership is working well and everyone is engaged and excited by their partner.
We have had some amazing partner experiences this year, including Epsom Refugee Network, The Lucy Rayner Foundation and Noke Drive.
Epsom Refugee Network invited two refugees they had helped directly to join us while our young people visited. They talked about their experiences, good and bad, including the stigma of being a refugee. It was an incredibly rewarding moment to watch a young person shake hands with one of the men, thank him for his time, and tell him he was the most inspirational person he had ever met. It was a unique opportunity for the team and they spoke of how grateful they were to receive it.
Another new local partner for this summer is The Lucy Rayner Foundation. Lucy was 22 when she took her life, showing few outward signs of a mental health struggle. Her family have created this organisation in her memory to help those who, like Lucy, may not reach out for help. They shared the documentary that had been created for the foundation and there was not a dry eye in the house. The young people were inspired and touched by Lucy’s memory and the work being done by her family.
Noke Drive is a partner run by Surrey Choices, providing a day centre for adults with learning disabilities. They have an amazing secret garden that they are converting into a space that anyone in the community can access. The team helped make eco-friendly sensory activities, engaging with the service users and helping to promote this wonderful space.”
The thing I find most challenging about my job is…
“I think it’s trying to balance the ongoing partnerships we’ve established, and also ensure our young people get the most out of engaging partners by carefully considering which areas and topics we can take on.”
When I’m not working…
“I’m exploring! My UK visa will be up soon and then it will be all about travelling. I’m planning to spend some time in France helping set up a refugee housing project and an animal refuge centre. After that, I will be heading back to Australia.”
My favourite quote is…
“‘Do all things with kindness.’”