“The best thing is developing, progressing, growing, and learning new things all the time”

Supported Living Service Manager

I have the flexibility to balance my work life and family life which is great because I have two little children now. That is really beneficial. 

"I’m a Service Manager at a supported living service for people with learning disabilities.

My role is about co-ordinating the day-to-day running of the service. It’s more focused on the staff – to make sure they’re supported; to make sure they have a good induction, they have supervisions. When these things happen it means our work with clients will be good.

I’ve been working at Southdown for six years. My career at Southdown started when I graduated as a social worker. The financial climate was really bad at the time and there were no social work jobs available, so I went for a job at Southdown in social care.

I started as a Support Worker at a service where the clients predominantly had physical disabilities. I stayed there for two years and learnt a lot. I then went for the Senior Support Worker role at another service. I was developing my role, taking the initiative. Your role as a Senior Support Worker is still to work with clients but to also be a role model to the Support Workers and to help the Manager with administrative jobs.

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) was just starting in Southdown and they announced a vacancy for a Senior Support Worker position. It was really enjoyable because I was learning and I had loads of freedom, being in charge of my own time management. At the time, I was doing a Master’s Degree and my manager was adjusting the rota to accommodate my hours. My confidence was up, my presentation skills and my writing skills were really developing.

It was whilst I was working in another service that I applied for a management role. I got the job and started almost immediately!

The best thing is developing, progressing, growing, and learning new things all the time. I also have the flexibility to balance my work life and family life which is great because I have two little children now. That is really beneficial.  From my own experience over the last six years, all my managers were really flexible.

I really like the people here. The staff team is so diverse, so different. They’re fun to work with – they’ve got great spirit. We do have a laugh!

Summer is great here. We are near the beach – some of our clients have their own beach huts – and we have a garden where we have BBQs. Lots of light, lots of vitamin d – happiness!  The atmosphere is very relaxed, a homely environment.

It’s been good to see the theoretical learning in my social work degree come alive here. What I like about Southdown is how good the support our clients get is, how much our clients are valued and the person-centred approach.

I’m proud of working with the PBS Team, especially when they desperately needed me to go into an existing team because a service was short-staffed. That made a difference. I was delivering PBS trainings for a while which was a major ‘coming out of my comfort zone’ time. It was a good thing to do because your comfort zone then grows.

For me there always needs to be some sort of action. I just want to experience different things. With family life so stable and routine, I feel work is where the action needs to be.

This role has given me personal and professional growth and development. I’ve learnt a lot about this whole sector and the people who have need for social care.

I would recommend this work to other people.”

 

We provide care and support for over 220 people with learning disabilities, 60% of whom have additional complex needs, either behaviour support needs and/or physical disabilities. To enable us to provide the very best care and support for people with learning disabilities, we have a specialist focus on improving people’s quality of life and reducing challenging behaviour through Positive Behaviour Support (PBS).

Southdown manages supported living services across Sussex. Supported living is where an individual owns or rents their own home and has control over the support they get and how they live their lives. Accommodation and support is provided separately. It can be very different for different people. For one person, supported living might be a few hours of support a week to enable them to live independently by themselves in a rented flat. For another it may be around the clock support in a shared house or self-contained flat.