“I feel like I’m part of a big family”
Before I started working here, I had no previous experience of support work. It was something new for me to learn. The training was quite intensive – it was a bit overwhelming at first but you do learn because you do it every day. All the learning disability supported living services are very different. This is a high needs service which means our clients have higher health and support needs.
Last year I left full-time support work and became a Bank Support Worker for six months. I came back as a full-time member of staff as my other job fell through because of Covid, and the employee benefits Southdown offers are quite good.
When I was a Bank Support Worker my Service Manager and Operations Manager really tried to help me get more shifts. As a bank worker, you get more flexibility so you can pick and choose your shifts.
The best thing about support work is getting to spend time with clients – getting to know them better, supporting them in the community and in activities, seeing a change in their behaviour, and making a difference.
Southdown offers one-to-one support which is tailored to each individual and that is so important because all our clients have different personalities and needs. This encourages the clients to achieve their full potential. Seeing them learn new things every day and having a choice over the way they live their lives, really makes a difference to the job.
What surprised me most about support work is that we get to support clients to go out, go to parties and fun activities! The relationship we can build with a client’s family has also been a good experience.
I’ve become a lot more patient in this job. It’s made me more patient in my personal life as well. And I pick up on things more – it becomes more natural the more you get to know the job and clients.
A good Support Worker is someone who is willing to learn new things and someone who has a positive attitude. Some Support Workers have worked with the same clients for 20 years. We’re working in their homes. It’s not like working in an office.
Some of the clients we support have no family so we are the only faces they see every single day. It makes you realise how important your role is and the support you offer can really impact their life.
Because we work with the same clients and staff every day, the team becomes like a second family. We help each other when we’re down and lift each other’s spirits, so in turn, we can provide the best support for the clients. It’s very different from all the other jobs I have done – I feel like I’m part of a big family and there is always support when I need it. Because Southdown is such a big and diverse company, there is always someone you can talk to.
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.