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A day in the life of Sam Plummer, Head of Operations and Practice

Startled awake by the “Morning Glory” alarm sound at 7am, I am immediately attacked [licked in the face] by an enormous dog who has been waiting for the alarm to sound the charge, if I’m unlucky I will get a full headbutt. Shouting random names of my children to wake them I stumble to the bathroom to wash ready for the day and desperately seeking a level of awareness so that I don’t fall down the stairs on my mission to find my sacred coffee.

As the kids appear like zombies and are handed their toast. I sip my coffee and start my routine of checking emails and text messages [hoping to find nothing new], then look at the calendar for the day to make sure I’m planning to head in the right direction with the right things in my bag. Back to the kitchen, trying to look busy while my lovely wife is doing everything to ensure the zombies eat their brains and get into a suitable state of dress.

As 8am approaches I have achieved my preparations [hopefully remembering the laptop charger] I realise that Maisy is not dressed, she is running around the landing with a box on her head shouting that she is the queen of the forest. I deal with this with ruthless efficiency with threats of unfairly long screen bans. Then we are off to the playground, walking the streets full of Norton Hill students [not including my one who is still at home looking for her shoes]. On the way I’m clocking the numbers of people at the bus stop…… oooo maybe the 8am bus is late, now I’m excited I might be able to get that. Stood in the playground I use my psychic powers to command Maisy’s teacher to hurry up, it works he’s out. Maisy is shooed off into her line, with the embarrassing dad “love you” shout.

RUN!!!! Flying past bewildered parents I run like I had sirens chasing me, stepping off the path and into the road where it’s safe. Call me Barry Allen, I made it to the bus. I settle into to a seat, first comes out my personal phone - play drum and bass full blast. Then work phone hit off any small fry emails. Calls start coming in someone’s sick or someone had an accident. More emails. If I get bored, I check Linked-In, looking at what others are doing regionally and nationally, particularly checking out NYA, funders and I few choice competitors [I mean partners].

The bus drops me off at Odd Down, I walk at pace trying to arrive at Southside in a timely fashion. Often, I make phone calls if I can and respond to emails and text as they come in as I march down the road. Often Cheryl Sharp passes me and doesn’t stop.

On arrival I position myself at my favourite desk, if someone has sat there, I will just sit next to them. I head to the café, check all is well with Karen and then make a coffee for myself. As I leave, I will request breakfast, a bap full of fried stuff.

I try and get my headphones on quick, so people will think I’m busy and not start asking questions. Launching straight into larger tasks like reports, bids or policies is preferable. But there’s a 10am teams meeting about VRP, I dive into that being helpful, but still reading my emails [2 or 3 screens is the way forward]. After the meeting people start lurking in the doorway, staring at me until I look at them, the headphones only get me so far. Answer a range of questions from a range of staff, some get the response “If I wasn’t here, who would you ask this too?”, while others get “that sounds really difficult, how are you going to sort that out?” and some even get a direct answer if it warrants it.

Tracey asks me a question [the headphone don’t protect me from her CEO status], this turns into an interesting but long debate. I then make it clear I need to focus on whatever it is I’m trying to focus on. Phone calls happen intermittently safeguarding, programme managers with issues or random people who got my number off the website. “Sorry no we don’t work with 5-year-olds, even if they are doing ASB in your front garden”, “yes that defo meets threshold, please write a request for service and copy me in”, “no I don’t know where the defibrillator has gone? Why would I?,” “that sounds great, do that”.

More meetings happen, more emails. I’ve now released I forgot lunch and the café is about to shut, so I go and talk nicely to Karen, get a sandwich. Smash out the afternoon much the same as the morning. Now the days finished, about 5pm, Kay [lovely wife] rings me, “what time are you coming home for tea?”---- ER… I forgot I am covering a session. I say “about 10pm my love?”. So, I’m leading the session in 2 hours, fly around Southside making a plan, write it up and a RA. Straight to the bus, more calls on the bus. 7pm stood in Paulton, there’s no bus and it’s raining but I have lights, a fire pit, a football and loads of willow. Young people don’t want to do the willow activity, but they make great swords, and they look like they hurt. Hide the willow. Play football, then twist my knee. Debrief the team, head home. 10pm get home, then the phone goes, another youth worker has a safeguarding concern, deal with that. Eat tea, go to bed. Luckily, its Friday, so it’s the weekend, better check the phone one last time…wait I’m volunteering Saturday morning.


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