A week in the life of Service Broker: Holly and Hannah, job sharing in Oxford


Holly: I meet up with Broadway Oxford City Outreach for their 6.30am round. I catch up with our rough sleeping vendors, and speak to people new to the city about The Big Issue. I set up an appointment with someone who wants to be badged up. Back at the office I see a vendor who has just had his first dentist appointment after I helped him complete his application for the new surgery around the corner from the office.


Holly: In the morning I induct the man I met yesterday. We discuss our Vendor Savings Scheme, to help him save for his tabard deposit and budget for magazines. In the afternoon I go to the city centre to see some vendors on their pitches. A vendor wants to know about the Dog’s Trust Hope Project, to get help with costs if his dog needs a vet.


Hannah: Conor, one of our super volunteers is here, helping to create useful up-to-date spreadsheets of contacts. We work closely with other services to find the best support for each vendor. A colleague from Crisis Skylight drops in to learn more about what we offer. I induct a new vendor and look into his support needs. A regular collaborative outreach on a Wednesday is with the local Harm Minimisation team; they offer drug and alcohol support, advice and referral as well as a needle exchange.


Hannah: I induct and train up a returning vendor and look into his support needs. We never give up on people no matter how challenging or complex their needs. In the afternoon, I meet a vendor for his three-month review. Over a coffee we talk about sales, opening a bank account, health, accommodation and the possibility of support to get a passport. Later, I talk to a colleague from Streets Revolution and discuss the wellbeing activities they currently offer. A walk around the pitches in town allows me to meet vendors as they sell and they can raise any issues they might have.


Hannah: I am planning this year’s Aspirations Week: I spend the morning thinking up ideas and inviting local providers to offer their support. I collect leaflets from another service for our office information display. As vendors drop in to buy magazines and book onto pitches I catch up with them and offer advice and encouragement – and sometimes a little banter. I explain to a vendor the benefit of having a basic bank account to help her save money and discuss the ID that she will need. All of our vendors are working to increase their income and to become financially-included. I am sure our vendors know how proud we are of the hard work they put in to improving their futures.