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MEET OUR STAFF - BEN SYLVESTER

1. Who are you and what did you do before you joined us at Crawley Open House?

Hi, my name is Ben. I’m a paramedic, having served the NHS for 17years, I left due to injury and went to work at Crawley Custody as the Forensic medical practitioner. I did that for 5 years.  Most recently I worked for Surrey County Council. Where I commissioned Needle Exchange services and community pharmacies and outreaching groups in the county.

 

2. How will you help our clients in your current position?

I bring with me a wealth of medical knowledge and a deep-rooted understanding of substance use issues that people can struggle with. I have a particular passion about NALOXONE, the antidote to opiate related overdoses. I’ve used it countless times on the ambulances and can preach about it saving lives. I turn my hand to almost anything.

3. Are you originally from Crawley? How did you hear about COH?

I’m not from Crawley. But I have served this, My, Your community for many years. I learnt about COH from my time working in custody and food parcel collections in my home town of East Grinstead.

 

4. Why choose to work at COH?

COH does such valuable work for so many vulnerable and deserving people. The only way is UP and to be part of the process is very rewarding. Homeless and marginalised people in the community sometimes miss out of health care and a listening, non-judgement ear. There is so much potential at COH that there is no Limit to improving outcomes.

 

5. What were some of your expectations before joining COH?

I had realistic expectations before starting, having spent lots of time with similar agencies in the next country. I was amazed at just how much support is offered to the community here. Financial/benefit advice, Community housing etc etc.

 

6. What are some of the goals you would like to achieve at COH? 

To operate a Needle exchange for those who may struggle to source from the normal places due to Stigma, There is none of that here as it is very trauma-informed & person-centred. 
I would like to twin with some of the services that I have worked with in the past in order to share best practices and experiences to improve services across a wider area.
Naloxone will be issued with no boundaries and I hope to shape a peer-to-peer network to further reach those in need
.

 

7. Like at any job, working at COH can become stressful sometimes, so what do you do for fun?

Home life is always busy, 1 dog, 3 cats, 4 chickens and probably a desiccated mouse or 2 under the sofa. I perform characters in radio plays for my local radio station. I also play Airsoft locally with my son. Family and friends are very important and down time is precious.

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