“I love my job”
I love my job because I am passionate about supporting people to live their lives to the full, for them to achieve the maximum that they are able to.
The best thing about support work is the feedback that you get from clients. The fact that at the end of the day, you can go home and feel that you’ve done a good job and made a difference to the clients. It’s good for your mental wellbeing.
I started working for Southdown in 2010 as a Bank Support Worker. I was already experienced working with, and teaching, adults with learning disabilities, but I hadn’t had experience in support and care work.
In 2010 my college closed and I was too young to retire and I didn’t want to work for another college or be a manager of something else, so I decided to change roles. From the many support organisations that I have a good experience of, Southdown is the only one that I wanted to apply for.
Working for Southdown means that you are working for an organisation that is committed to sustainability, whose senior leadership team is accessible, and where the training you get equips you well for your role.
I was, and always have been, really interested in training and being trained. Safeguarding is a big interest and I’m passionate that clients understand their rights and responsibilities. I ask them, “If you’re not happy, who are you going to tell?”
I work in a Community Support Service which means clients living here receive minimal support, they don’t need 24 hour or overnight support. They are expected to be independent but we can support them initially when starting new activities. For example, one client was interested in a choir and we went with her for the first three weeks.
Everybody living here has a daily planner and has an average of 10 hours of support a week. The type of support depends on the client, it might involve prompting and supporting with cleaning or cooking, or supporting them to make and attend medical appointments.
There’s not a typical day for me – I like that! There are daily staff guidelines for every client and a service diary which staff read at the beginning of the day to see what is going on.
Flexibility is key for a Support Worker, as well as consideration for clients and your colleagues. If you’re interested in support work, ask to speak to a current Support Worker to find out what the job is really about.
I’ve worked in lots of different services. Don’t expect that you’re going to be wonderful on your first day. You’ve got to know your clients and that’s the fundamental thing. It takes time. Don’t beat yourself up. Be reflective. Don’t be scared to ask questions. Spot the good in your work and bring it out. Don’t stifle it. If you like support work but the service or the clients’ level of need aren’t quite right for you, see if there is another service that’s more suited to you.
Southdown manages supported living services across Sussex. Supported living is where an individual owns or rents their own home and has control over how they live their life. 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.