My name is Michelle and this is a ‘day in the life’ of a Children & Families (CAFE) Project Manager. I have been working for St Giles Trust for just over 5 years and really enjoy my job. Luckily for me I am not starring in the Nineties classic ‘Ground Hog Day’, so each day is new and different.

It’s 5am and the alarm clock goes off. It’s dark and windy outside making it more difficult to peel myself out of bed, but I best hurry up as I’ve got a train to catch! There are a fair few commuters waiting on the platform to keep me company although we all look a bit cold and tired. At this time of the morning even the normally noisy seagulls are having a lie in!

I get to the Camberwell office for 8.30am and get on with emails and post. While the computer loads up I make myself some porridge and a brew (essential items). A referral has arrived for the CAFE Project in Thanet for a young couple with a 10-month old baby who are living in a tiny damp flat and have Social Services involvement. A typical CAFE case and one that we can really make a difference with.

I then get a phone call from a Women’s Safety Worker in Kent who wants some advice about a family she has started working with. We used to work closely together when the CAFE Project was running across Kent so it was great to hear from her. As she described the case the fire in my belly was lit and it was so tempting to take the case on, even though we no longer work in that area. I managed to restrain myself though and instead gave her some advice.

Another two referrals arrive for the CAFE Project in Tower Hamlets. Both very complex and long-term, but I have a highly experienced, hardworking team who thrive on these kind of cases so I have no worries on that front.

At lunchtime I leave the office and head over to Tower Hamlets for a meeting at a school we are working in. This meeting is to review our service and the work we are doing with two chaotic families. The Deputy Head and Family Worker are both happy with how things are going and may have another couple of families to refer. We made an action plan of how to move the existing cases forward.

After the meeting I nab a desk so I can catch up on emails, voicemails and write up the meeting notes. I also make use of the quiet time to prepare the agenda for our upcoming team meeting. I then receive a call from a Social Worker in Kent to tell me that a Folkestone CAFE Project family I used to support has finally been re-housed! That call makes my day and it was so good of her to ring and let me know.


Dashing through the crowds like a mad woman I managed to make it to the station in time for the 1724. When the train arrived I had to fight for my space through a sea of suits and umbrellas. I managed to get a seat. It was a two seater and the man already sitting down possessed it like a king’s throne, legs widely spread. So I squeezed and sat down and he didn’t move a hair, faking he was asleep. Millimetre by millimetre I slowly gained back space, taking advantage of every tiniest train jolt to push into my territory. After over 15 minutes of budging…Victory! I claimed my equal share of the seat. Oh dear, I sound like a proper commuter now.....