I never set out to be a support worker – I’m from Sheffield, so I was always expected to go into the steel works, or onto the building sites like my Dad, so I did. Eventually I left the building trade and joined Hft to become a support worker, and I haven’t looked back since.
It sounds corny but I feel like I really do make a difference to the lives of the nine people I support. I support them in all kinds of ways, like with their hospital appointments, and in speaking up for themselves. It’s the little things in life – things we often take for granted - that make a difference. When you’re working with people you can see how important it is that they make their own choices and have a say in their future.
Don’t get me wrong, it can get stressful, but if I can bring a smile to someone’s face then it’s worth it. My biggest challenge is how to communicate with some people, so I’ve trained in Makaton, a form of sign language, and that helps a lot. They bend over backwards here to see to it that you get good training.
We’re always coming up with things to do to encourage people to feel better about themselves; we sail, go to the pub - and even go on holidays. I’ve set up a pool club - that was one of my ideas – supporting people to find work or leisure activities they want to do is a big part of the job.
I can’t imagine doing another job now that I’ve experienced working with people this way. I know my manager and colleagues have got my back too. I’d rather be a support worker than a steel worker any day.