“As an activities coordinator at FitzRoy, no two days are the same. I might come into work with a plan – but that soon changes! But that’s why I love my job.”
We spoke to Alexa, activities coordinator at our care home The Pastures in Norfolk, to find out what goes on behind the scenes when planning activities and events at FitzRoy – and how she helped organise their extravagant jubilee party.
Alexa said: “The most important quality I have to have in my job is being adaptable. One of FitzRoy’s values is ‘seeing the person’, and it’s never more true than when I plan activities and have the challenge of finding out what a particular person wants to do or achieve.
“It’s my job to recognise what each person wants and how I can best support them. It’s not just about planning fun activities, either. It’s about understanding what the person I am working with wants to achieve and what skills they want to develop, and supporting them to do so. Every day is different in my job, and that is why I am so passionate about it.
“We are always looking at ways we can give our residents new opportunities to discover what they enjoy. We planted a sensory garden which has been really popular, Anthony in particular loves to come and enjoy the space and smell the flowers. We have also nearly completed our project building an activity and multi-sensory space for the people we support. Our residents can’t wait to use it, at the moment we don’t have a group space to get together as we are made up of separate bungalows. This new space will mean the people we support can socialise as and when they want to.
“There is also so much joy in my job when I get to work with the people we support in planning for big occasions, like the Jubilee weekend. Our residents love a party, even if they only want to join in for a short period of time, so I set up a planning meeting with them, so we could agree what kind of celebrations they wanted to hold.
“They agreed on a garden party with food, garden games – and a throne! We thought it would be nice to make some decorations of our own, so we created jubilee-themed bunting and some red, white and blue decorations.
“Jasmine and Lauren wanted to be princesses for the day, so everyone decorated their own crown.
“On the day of our party the sun was shining. Everyone was wearing their crown and had a picture taken sitting on the throne. Some had their face painted, and one of our nurses Julie taught Anthony how to dance as you would at a tea dance. Rachel’s parents visited and it was lovely for them to be able to join in our celebrations with her.
“It was a lovely atmosphere and everyone was smiling, laughing and dancing. It was a really memorable day and is just another reminder of the immense satisfaction I get from my job.”
Alexa said: “We are always looking for people to join our team at The Pastures. I always tell people that you don’t need experience to be a support worker, you need to be someone who is enthusiastic and really wants to make a difference. Those qualities can’t be taught.
“We also skill match people with our residents, so if you have a passion for painting for example, there will be someone we support at The Pastures who would really love to learn from you. This job really brings out what you are passionate about, and I couldn’t recommend it enough.”