Realising I didn’t like hospitals ended my childhood dream of becoming a nurse. I stopped my training but stayed in the care sector, discovering the fascinating worlds of mental health, elderly care and so on. But none felt right. After a year out travelling, and a stab at working in sales and offices, I ended up back in the care sector. This is when I found my vocation, working with people with disabilities.
I love the variety each day brings
Working alongside people who see the world differently, and have different abilities, is inspiring. It has changed me as a person. I reflect a lot more on my actions and words because I’ve learnt not to judge people. I’d say it has made me a better person. Fifteen years on from my first job at FitzRoy, as a support worker, I now manage four FitzRoy day and community services in Hampshire. The training is invaluable, and it doesn’t stop. Even when I’m refreshing my skills I learn new things, which is something I love.
I’d say to anyone who is thinking of this as a career to go for it
If you want to do something that makes a difference, and you like working alongside people it is a great career. My biggest joy is seeing people achieve things they didn’t think possible. It is often things many of us take for granted, like making choices like where we live, what to eat for dinner, and which pub to go to. I’ve worked with people who have gone from not having the confidence to communicate or engage with others, to living independently and travelling on their own.
We still have a way to go
We need to help people understand that it is ok to be different, and people with learning disabilities have a huge amount to offer. Sometimes people are frightened of the unknown, and they aren’t sure how to react when people behave in ways they wouldn’t expect. The best way to stop this fear is to help people with disabilities become part of their communities, out and about socialising as much as possible. This will help more people understand that we’re all different, something we should celebrate and enjoy. I’m proud of the work I do, and the work of all the staff at FitzRoy.
To me, See the Person means allowing people to be themselves and grow into who they are, and who they’d like to be.
Louise Farrell-Clarke, Service Manager, Hampshire Day Services