Amie Clinton - Matt's Work Colleague
Officially I was Matt's Line Manager, unofficially we were coffee mates.
I first heard of Matt's name several years ago when I was a newly promoted Team Leader and was sat in a crammed meeting room at Molineux House Jobcentre surrounded by several other very experienced Leaders. We began discussing teams and I was asked what my operational experience of a working Jobcente was - I laughed and honestly said 'very little'. Although I'd worked for the Jobcentre for 16 years, I'd never actually worked in one, so knew very little about running or managing one. 'In that case, you need Matt' was the response I received. Who Matt was or what Matt did, I didn't know, but his name was now next to mine on a sheet of a paper and I was advised to make him my deputy due to his wealth of knowledge and expertise. I met Matt later that day. He smiled, introduced himself and that was it until the following week when I found my way to my new team up on the first floor in the vast Jobcentre that Moli is. Matt was sat at his desk, he smiled broadly, gave me a big pat on the shoulder and said 'you'll be fine. I will show you'. He couldn't have been more supportive or welcoming. And that was the beginning of a great friendship Matt and I had.
I soon learned that Matt had huge amounts of knowledge having worked in Moli Jobcentre for years. And anything he didn't know, he went and found it out. He knew far too much to ever teach anyone and everyone went to him for advice on what to do. Matt was a 'doer'. If something needed doing, he would just get on with it. I'd often discover he'd done something via someone else telling me as Matt was so humble, he'd never make a big deal of it. He was the office's 'Mr fixer'.....and when the requests for help from him came in, he'd simply say 'put it on my desk and I'll do it', and before the day was over, he'd fulfilled that promise!
For the last few months, Matt didn't have a permanent desk. He and said he didn't need one as he was never sat in the same place for very long anyway, plus he was never happier than when he was running around the office, from customers to colleagues, helping out and all with a constant smile on his face.
Matt would often volunteer to do extra tasks....representing the office at District meetings, delivering sessions with customers and leading on focus groups to look at ways to improve things. Back in the summer I found him at his desk and happened to just ask 'all ok?' He laughed and said 'no, I'm doing a horrible job'. Matt rarely said anything like this so I questioned what the job was......it was updating a noticeboard. I laughed as he showed me what he was doing and offered to help him. He'd designed what needed to be displayed so we updated the board together and had a laugh in the process. Afterwards I asked him why he'd hated doing that job as it was easy. He agreed it was one of the easiest things he'd done for a while, but had hated every moment as it wasn't 'his bag'. I asked why he'd done it if he didn't want to. Matt just smiled again and said 'because it needed doing'. And that was Matt was all over.
Matt was also a fabulous deputy. I would return from leave to find all actions completed, an empty inbox and compliments from others across the office on how well he'd done. We often spoke about him applying for promotion, something I so wanted him to do as he was so capable of the next grade up. He'd not long decided to start working on his development to be in a position to start applying.
Matt's proudest moments within the last 12 months was helping single parent customers and carer's. Matt took great pride in helping these customers to make a huge difference to their lives. He created processes and designed systems (some of which we still haven't fathomed out) to help him source these customers and invite them to sessions he'd help deliver to discuss their needs and work out what help he could give them. He really enjoyed this customer group.
Matt loved his coffee and we'd often visit Starbucks to grab a quick coffee break, for just have a natter, or sometimes even to conduct his monthly appraisal. Several of us in the office have recently realised just how much Matt enjoyed coffee, as our coffee stocks haven't required replenishing as much lately. But we don't mind and would happily supply Matt with coffee all day, as long as he was happy.
Matt made everyone smile. His sense of humour was sometimes wicked and I had to occasionally remind him to 'adjust his professional hat as it had just slipped slightly', Matt would laugh and say 'I know, I know.' We all knew Matt was a Saddler's fanatic and also that he was a great family man as he talked about you all continually and regularly told us stories of how he would be spending his upcoming weekends/time off with you. Her cherished Olly, whom he loved dearly and was the apple of his eye. Matt's face beamed when he spoke of you.
On one occasion I asked Matt why he chose to work at DWP. His response was simple....to help the customer as it gave him a great sense of achievement and was proud of that. On the Monday morning following Matt's passing I was approached by a member of my team who was in the middle of interviewing a customer. The customer had asked to see me. This usually means the customer wishes to complain! On this occasion, the customer explained he didn't have an appointment but had wanted to come in and see Matt and shake his hand to thank him. The customer had been wanting to do a particular training course for sometime and hadn't been able to enrol. He'd come into the Jobcentre for help the previous week and happened to see Matt. After spending 20 minutes with him, Matt had referred him for enrollment onto the desired course, telling the customer exactly what he needed to do next and where he needed to go. Matt's final comment was 'let me know how you get on'. The customer had attended on this Monday morning asking to see Matt because he'd managed to enrol and even start the course and wanted to thank Matt personally for helping him. The customer said Matt had taken a few minutes out of his day last week to help him and he now wanted to take a few minutes out of his day to thank Matt. I explained to the customer that Matt had sadly passed away. The customer was shocked and saddened and I spent a few minutes chatting with him. The customer then returned a few days later and asked me to let Matt's family know how much he'd helped him and that Matt was a star. We knew Matt was a star but for a customer to come in and say that to us was something special.
Matt was a shining star for Moli and for the whole of DWP. His star will never fade and we have even named a star after him at the office. When I think of Matt, I remember firstly his broad smile and happy face. I then remember how kind and honest he was. Lastly, I remember he was a 'complete giver'. Matt gave so much and had so much more to give. He is forever in our thoughts and always missed.