28 June 2022
At FirstPort, we’re looking for people with a passion to help their customers be part of a happy and safe community. Fostering neighbourly and local community relationships is so important, particularly at difficult times.
Darren White joined FirstPort early in 2022, following a 34-year career in retail management. A keen advocate for community and charity, Darren applied this passion in a professional capacity, performing a community role alongside his day-to-day managerial duties at Sainsbury’s.
It was while in his previous role, that he first worked alongside FirstPort to support local residents through a difficult time and was impressed by the community focus he’d witnessed.
Our customers want to see that you really care, that you are providing good value for money, and that you understand the community you’re serving. I make it a priority to do all three,”
In December 2021, Wellington Court, an independent retirement living development in Bournemouth was severely affected by a fire. All residents had to be evacuated and temporarily rehomed just days before Christmas, and many had lost personal belongings.
When the FirstPort Regional Manager reached out to a local supermarket for support, then Store Manager, Darren, went above and beyond to support the residents in need. Darren coordinated a response alongside his Sainsbury’s colleagues to deliver Christmas dinners for 65 families affected by the fire – despite it being the busiest week in the retail calendar.
The festive season is often a reflective time for many, and Darren, inspired by the community focus he’d seen at FirstPort, spent this time contemplating a career change. With an extensive background of management experience and a passion for improving lives in the local community, the move to property management seemed a natural fit, with much of his skill set applicable to a role of looking after people’s homes.
“There are so many similarities. I’ve always took my responsibility of looking after my customers extremely seriously. It’s obviously a different community from shop floor to development, but the principles are the same. Our customers want to see that you really care, that you are providing good value for money, and that you understand the community you’re serving. I make it a priority to do all three,” said Darren.
While Darren’s experience made him the ideal candidate for an Area Manager role at FirstPort, he is the first to admit that taking the leap into a new industry was still something of a daunting task. However, the support of his new FirstPort colleagues helped him to settle in and quickly start to apply his skills to his new role.
“It was a bit scary. 34 years of retail management, the most experienced manager, the one people would go to and say, ‘What would you do?’ now I’ve come in and training to be a new manager,” said Darren.
“I’ve had great support from an experienced Area Manager, she’s been a level of support I’ve never experienced before, she has so much patience.”
With the support of his new FirstPort colleagues, Darren is now enjoying his new Area Manager role, overseeing the management of independent retirement developments in the South-West, and getting to know his residents and the new communities he helps to look after.
For more information on careers at FirstPort, visit our careers page.