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A day in the life of a ....Welfare Officer

10 May 2012

A day in the life of........ Paul Lodge, Welfare Officer with Racing Welfare

How did you get involved in this role?

On retiring from Military Service as a Welfare Officer supporting Service Personal and their families I wanted to continue the role in civilian life. I was approached by a former military colleague who at that time was involved in Horse Racing and I found myself likening to what the charity could offer as a vacancy became available.

What attracted you to the job?

For many years I’d followed racing especially when I lived in Wiltshire and Berkshire finding myself at Salisbury, Ascot and Windsor races quite often. I also lived at Larkhill (Salisbury Plain) and would watch and attend point to point meetings back in the 90’s. My wife’s great-uncle is a trainer in Yorkshire so the foundation of racing was purely interesting and the desire to work in the industry became more appealing.

The prospect of becoming a Welfare Officer at Racing Welfare offered many positive and rewarding avenues especially helping people in need which in essence was an extension of what I’d been doing in the Army. The main appeal was the overall challenge of working in a new industry and embracing the racing culture and tradition.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m employed as a ‘roaming’ welfare officer supporting the racing people and communities of Yorkshire, the North East, elements of Cumbria and Scotland. In essence the roaming title means that I can be anywhere in my regions supporting and helping those in need. A typical day can be quite mixed and complex especially locating retired racing staff in remote locations. Offering welfare assistance and support takes careful assessment and some visits can be quite lengthy and demanding. Like any typical day I would be expected to take or make phone calls, pick up e-mails, liaise with volunteers/other agencies and perform work related administration. Normally this will be done either from my office in Malton, Saltburn by the Sea (near Redcar) or ‘out and about’.

What is your favourite part of the job?

I’m a people’s person and I favour being out in the regions visiting racing people and helping them in their time of need. Equally there may not be a need issue but this still provides opportunity to meet different people with different experiences in racing.

Which part of your job would you like to change?

None at this current time, the work is truly inspiring.

What is the career progression for someone in your role?

A welfare officer can progress to regional responsibility overseeing and supporting the work other officers take on. Racing Welfare has a head of its welfare department and therefore this could be seen as the ultimate position to work towards. The role of a welfare officer can be quite complex calling on many skill sets to enhance the job therefore there’s always scope to further educate ones self by branching off into different welfare capacities. Examples of these could be degrees in counselling, psychology and advice and guidance.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of taking a similar role?

Embrace yourself in the ethics of supporting and helping people. Know yourself and look at how you interact with individuals as the role can be demanding when dealing with people’s issues. You have to be a good active listener, display empathy and be prepared for the ‘unknown’.


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