Everyone I have come into contact with lives respect and care – from my colleagues to my wonderful Team Leader and even our CEO, whom I’ve met personally at Candella Day, our annual organisation-wide meet-up. It’s an open organisation that encourages people’s differences, stories and backgrounds. And even though we don’t have an office to go to each day, help is always there.”
Being a safe space in a person’s journey
The ability to listen and learn – free of judgement, purely with kindness, respect and empathy – is a powerful thing. It’s a skill Declan leans into and nurtures every day as he supports people through some of their most challenging and vulnerable times.
Yet, Declan also knows that listening is the first important step. To facilitate change in a person’s world, the next step is to support them as they set and work towards their goals, whatever they may be. And it’s what he does each day at Candella.
As a Wellbeing Facilitator, Declan helps people experiencing mental health issues and other forms of disadvantage to grow their capacity and independence – on their terms, at their pace.
“For some people, everyday activities that others take for granted can be difficult to achieve,” Declan says. “My role is to encourage and guide people to engage in these activities. It’s often those small moments of connection and understanding that can make all the difference for an individual.”
Being part of someone’s wellbeing journey can be challenging. But it is also richly rewarding, and for Declan, his clients are a constant source of inspiration.
“Honestly, what I love the most is working and talking with people and building that connection. A lot of our clients’ stories are quite heavy; they’ve had such tough times in their lives. But they are some of the strongest and most resilient people you can imagine. To learn about where they’ve been and see where they are now, even without my help, it’s really inspiring.”
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A culture of respect and care
Although Declan’s journey to Candella wasn’t straightforward, it did give him a deep insight into people’s life challenges.
“For most of my 20s, I had a mishmash of different work,” Declan says. “A lot of it was at bottle shops and pubs, where I saw a lot of challenging or troubling scenes.”
In 2019 and 2020, Declan worked for a major bank, contacting customers in financial distress to discuss their options. In many ways, it was a precursor to his current work at Candella.
“It was quite eye-opening. Some people had been bringing in big salaries, and suddenly they were unable to work. Many of them were in quite a dark space, and I tried to help by listening and being respectful of their situation. I learnt a lot about people in that role.”
This experience helped motivate Declan to study for his Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs at RMIT University.
“It was a Victorian Government-funded course, as it had identified a need for further employment in that area. I’d also seen friends suffer with AOD (alcohol and other drugs) and mental health issues over the years, so I thought it was a great initiative to be part of.”
Upon completing his course in 2022, Declan was scanning the Ethical Jobs board when he saw the position of Wellbeing Facilitator at Candella.
“I got the impression Candella was an organisation built on the very idea of respect and care. And that’s been evident right from the get-go.”
Joining us in October 2022, Declan says he found a highly supportive, approachable and caring team. Like all our team members, Declan works remotely. Yet, he feels strongly connected to his team through regular online catch-ups and knowing that support is always just a quick phone call away.
“Everyone I have come into contact with lives respect and care – from my colleagues to my wonderful Team Leader and even our CEO, whom I’ve met personally at Candella Day, our annual organisation-wide meet-up. It’s an open organisation that encourages people’s differences, stories and backgrounds. And even though we don’t have an office to go to each day, help is always there.”
Empowered to make a difference
As Declan empowers people to set and reach their wellbeing goals, it’s important he has the flexibility to do the same.
“One thing I’ve loved about working at Candella is they give you the autonomy to create your own work week. We all do a minimum of 20 hours, but you can dive right in and work more if you please, and you can choose your days and hours to make sure you have some downtime. It does help if you have good organisational skills!”
To succeed in a career at Candella, Declan says it’s important to come from a place of honesty. And if you have a passion for learning and a genuine desire to deliver safe, respectful, human-centred support, you’ll truly thrive.
“To really help someone, you need to do a lot of learning, and sometimes that needs to happen quite quickly. It’s also important to keep some emotional space for yourself, so you have the time to process someone else’s experience. It’s a super rewarding role to have. It does come with its challenges, but having that opportunity to connect with people has been boundlessly rewarding for me.”
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