Sophie Bates

sophie-batesMy name is Sophie, and I’m Head of Housing Services at Freebridge Community Housing. I began my career at another of our partners, the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, but after the stock transfer in 2006, I moved across to Freebridge – so I have been here for eight years.

After I finished my A-Levels, I decided to take a year out before going to uni, and when I saw a temporary role advertised at the council I thought it would be ideal. Really quickly I realised how much I loved working. I saw that there were lots of opportunities for me to progress my career, and made the decision not to go to uni after all, avoiding the debt!

The council allowed me to experience different roles and service areas within the organisation, and it became clear to me that I wanted to work within housing management. It offered me so much variety and as I really enjoy meeting and helping people it seemed ideal.

I can definitely say there are no such things as a ‘typical day’ at Freebridge. As Head of Housing Services, my day could involve anything from writing policies and procedures, to attending meetings with a range of partners or supporting my team to resolve complex cases.

One of the things that I love most about working here are my colleagues and the team around me. We have dedicated, committed staff who make coming to work far more enjoyable. Freebridge have nurtured and developed me as a person, for example, I am currently studying for my ILM Level Five Diploma in Leadership and Management after having recently completed my ILM Level Five Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring.

I have been very happy and successful through my career so far and I am glad that I decided to stay in west Norfolk. With a large family and friends in the area, I feel that I have the perfect work/life balance. There are great places to go and things to do right on your doorstep, plus we’re ideally positioned between Norwich and Cambridge, and less than two hours from London, for times when you do want to venture further afield.

West Norfolk is a safe and welcoming place to live, with relatively low levels of crime, which is important to me. It’s also very picturesque and has a number of different types of attractions; a great place to raise a family or for anyone keen on the outdoors!

I’ve never felt at a disadvantage by not moving away. I’ve been able to build a career from a range of opportunities that I don’t feel I would have had elsewhere, while living in one of the most beautiful places in the country. All of this with my family and friends around me – what could be better?