In the first of a mini series on our blog, we thought we’d introduce our fantastic Trustees to our readers, clients and supporters. Our Trustees do an amazing job, and are highly valued by us here at QVT. Each Trustee brings something different to the table and they come from a diverse and varied background and have a great deal of relevant experience and expertise, which they use to assist the Chief Executive and the Executive Team to achieve our charity’s vision.
On the blog today we meet our newest Trustee, Anastasia Baliakou!
Anastasia is a health and social care manager with experience of working across the mental health, learning disabilities and digital healthcare sectors. Currently she is the Head of Services at a West London Charity supporting people with learning disabilities and their families. Since her first Bachelor’s internship, the majority of her work has been supporting those with learning disabilities and mental health difficulties, initially in Greece and later on in London.
Anastasia has an academic background in Clinical Psychology (both a B.Sc. and an M.Sc.) and more recently completed a postgraduate Diploma in International Healthcare Management and Leadership (PG.Dip.) As a newly elected on the Board of QVT in October 2020 she would like to use her skills to ensure the needs of the service users are met, in all aspects of their life.
What is your ‘day job’ when you’re not a Trustee for QVT?
I also work in the third sector and I am the Head of Services at a West London charity that supports people with learning disabilities and their families. It is exciting to work in an area with a diverse population and this helps me understand QVT’s clients’ needs a bit better.
How did you end up becoming a QVT Trustee? Tell us a bit about your Trustee role…
This is my first Trustee role and I am very excited about joining QVT. I have mostly worked in the charity sector and knew that would be a role I would want to have one day, so once I had finished my postgraduate degree, it felt right to start the search. QVT appealed to me because of its range of work and the values of maximising independence and supporting people to become an active part of their communities.
Best thing about being a Trustee?
The fact that you are making a difference in people’s lives, even though you cannot be there for the practical aspects of the work.
What do you think makes QVT special/ what do you think QVT does well as charity?
From my experience so far, I can see that QVT is not content with just doing its job right but management is always looking for ways to improve the housing environment, the activities, the relationship with its stakeholders. It has a growth mentality and that makes it different that others.
Biggest challenges currently facing mental health services and mental health charities?
Unfortunately NHS mental health services are at capacity, all across London, and a lot of third sector organisations are left having to provide most of the support themselves. For the people who are facing difficulties, this does not mean just counselling and therapeutic services but also holistic support with their housing, benefits, education and employment. It is a great opportunity for charities to start supporting people holistically, but usually relevant funding is limited and ever-declining.
What do you think really helps our clients when it comes to supported housing?
It is offering them a lot more than just a roof over their heads. It is important to consider who their housemates are going to be, if they are geographically close to areas they know, to encourage them to keep in touch with family and friends, to offer them a non-judgemental listening ear. I think the most important is helping them become actively focused on their recovery and their strengths.
What would you like to see from QVT in the coming year?
I would like to see QVT’s clients being happy, recovering and completing milestones whilst in our support. I would also hope to see more London boroughs trusting QVT’s service offer.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
Because I love travelling, I like to delve deeply into the history, culture and cuisine of each place so watching travel documentaries or reading relevant books are things I enjoy a lot. I am also trying my best to stay fit and stick to my gym routine.