An article written by Uckfield deputy manager, Aidan.
My previous experience of care work was from when I left university and ended up needing a job. Somehow my 2:1 degree in Scriptwriting wasn’t letting Hollywood know that I was available for the big time.
It was a rewarding challenge but I was lured away to the bright lights of Worthing and a Garden Centre that had need of an inexperienced (i.e. cheap) manager.
Something stayed with me though and after nearly 20 years with a career in retail management I wanted a new challenge that would be more fulfilling than being the best paid shelf-stacking security guard on the London Road in Brighton. I could tell you more about that but it’s like Vietnam. You wouldn’t understand, you weren’t there man!
Luckily I found FitzRoy.
I remember being very nervous when I started as I wasn’t used to this work and was really worried about giving personal care and if the people I was looking after would be comfortable with me. I needn’t have worried as very quickly, the managers of the service, the other staff and the people we look after made me feel very relaxed at Webb House in Newhaven.
I learnt very quickly that any embarrassment in a personal care situation was being brought by myself and the service users were very much used to having people help in that way. Also they make it fun. I can honestly say I have laughed every single day since I came to work here and the sense of achievement in helping someone is second to none. Be it from just taking someone shopping to getting someone outside their room for the first time in months. The work we can do together with them is wonderful.
What other job could you get the chance to be paid to spend time with such amazing people? Regardless of their abilities you soon learn to understand their needs and wants and within a few weeks it felt as if I had been there for ages.
There is some, easy to understand, training involved both on-line and in classrooms and plenty of opportunities to undertake more should you want to. Currently I’m doing an NVQ Level 2 in Health & Social Care.
A year into the job I applied and was successful in becoming one of the senior support workers at the service. More responsibility (and a little more money) meant that I got to learn FitzRoy’s operating systems a bit better and was booking in medications, helping with training and helping to plan activities for the service users.
One of the highlights for me was starting a storyteller club where I would read books for a small group once a week. We started with The Hobbit but quickly changed over to the Harry Potter books which were much more fun. I even started doing silly voices for all the characters so that those who may not have been following the story could at least have a good laugh at the silliness. By the way, If you feel like trying it yourself, read Dumbledore with the voice of a New York gangster and you’ll soon have tears of laughter around you.
Currently I am now the new deputy manager for our Vernon Close service in Uckfield. It’s a supported living residence with six wonderful humans that have let me into their lives. We have one small house with four residents and two others in individual bungalows. Obviously it hasn’t been as busy as usual due to the coronavirus but that has set a whole different set of challenges to look after.
Regardless of whether you were looking for a progressing career or a rewarding role as a support worker Fitzroy are an excellent charity to work for. I know you’re thinking ‘he would say that wouldn’t he?’ but I really mean it. There’s a good rate of pay, 28 days holiday, discount bonuses, way too much coffee and some of the biggest smiles you’ll ever see.