Kirsty Giles works at South London and Maudsley (SLaM) in the Occupational Therapy department and she also manages SLaM Recovery College. She tells us what it’s like working at SLaM and gives us a bit of insight about her life outside of work!
What is the name of your role?
SLaM Recovery College Manager. I’m an occupational therapist by profession.
Which part of South London and Maudsley do you work in?
SLaM Recovery College is based at the Maudsley Hospital within the Corporate Occupational Therapy service led by Gabrielle Richards, but we deliver courses and workshops right across Croydon, Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth in about 15 venues each term.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different, which is something I love about the job. I work in a team that includes peer recovery trainers (people with lived experience who co-produce and deliver our workshops), clinicians and administrators which is a fantastic environment to be in. I’m involved in co-producing and teaching workshops as well as the operational management and strategic development of the college. I meet lots of interesting people, including our students, and provide support to our team members.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The thing I enjoy most is seeing the way the college has developed in the past two years. This is down to the people involved. The peer and practitioner trainers and the very dedicated team behind the scenes have worked incredibly hard to get the college up and running. Now we are seeing the positive impact the learning is having on the lives of our students which is inspiring and gives hope to others.
Which part of your job is most challenging?
Time-management! The college office is a dynamic and fun place to be. The interest in what we offer has been fantastic, and finding time for all the projects and developments can be a challenge. I’m lucky that I work alongside Tony Holmes (operations manager) who is the most organised person I know.
What is your favourite thing about South London and Maudsley?
Working in an environment where service users are being given the opportunity to take up meaningful work within the organisation to support others in their recovery journeys. Our peer recovery trainer team are very skilled and dedicated. They give an enormous amount of their time and expertise to support service users in a non-clinical environment. I’m very lucky to lead a team that inspires people to live as well as possible within a service that gives service users, carers and SLaM staff the opportunity to learn together and from one another.
What’s your proudest achievement in your career to date?
My proudest achievement was seeing the SLaM Recovery College film for the first time recently. Some of the college students, staff and contributors from right across the Trust took part, including Matthew Patrick, SLaM’s Chief Executive. Hearing people speak about the impact the college is having, within the organisation and in the lives of our students in such a short time was incredible.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I started pottery classes earlier this year (a very ‘OT’ thing to do!) which I’m really enjoying but a lot of my free time is starting to be taken up by studying an MSc in Organisational Psychiatry and Psychology at the IoPPN (the Institute of Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience at King’s). I also try to get home to New Zealand once a year to see family and find some sunshine during the UK winter.
Name one thing that service users might not know about you.
I played table tennis for New Zealand for several years as a teenager as well as softball at provincial level for Otago where I’m from.
If you could only take one thing to a desert island, what would it be?
A solar powered phone to call someone to get me out of there… or scuba gear if that wasn’t an option.
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview with Kirsty Giles. Find out more about how you can get involved in supporting the services at SLaM.