Dawn Berry; ‘the value of shared experiences’

A committed, visible and engaged leadership team is essential for ensuring that the highest quality of service is delivered at Eden Futures.

It is fundamental that our workforce has confidence in their leaders and trusts that the team will be treated fairly and with respect. The benefit of such trust is that employees are motivated into delivering the best possible outcomes for people.

I’m always eager to discuss our values with the team and see how we are demonstrating best practice. Getting out and about, meeting colleagues and being in services, is high on my agenda.

Recently, I visited our Supported Living Service in Newtown, Wales. The small team supports people with enduring Mental Health needs who have previously been in hospital.

I met some inspirational people and learnt a lot about the service during my visit. I had a very engaging conversation with a woman who had lived at the service for around five years. She told me how she’d previously lived in a valley on a farm growing up but had been displaced because of the valley being flooded as a reservoir, which now feeds into Merseyside.

Understanding people’s past experiences helps us to support people better in the present. I can only imagine how that displacement must have affected her. I’m really proud that the person centred support, our understanding of her mental health needs and our ability to acknowledge her history has helped shape her future.

I also caught up with Becky Williams, Team Manager at Newtown, who joined Eden Futures a few years ago after working in palliative care services.

She told me that she has really enjoyed working with the people in our supported living services who have mental health needs. We found some common ground about how we decided that working in health and social care was the right career path for both of us, and it was great to have had time to connect with a member of the team with whom I’ve not previously spoken with at length.

The visit was a reminder of the value of shared and varied experiences in the world of health and social care. It should never be underestimated when we want to find the best way in which to support people.

My Journey Into Care…by Phil Lautman

My journey into the world of care could be described as fate. Just over ten years ago and due to circumstances in my personal life, I answered an advertisement that simply stated, ‘homecare workers wanted’. It was a small ad in my local newspaper and I was attracted to the role because of the flexible hours offered. I had another part time job and working evenings would provide a full-time element across the two positions. So, in truth, I had no pre-conceptions or ambitions at the outset of my career in health and social care.

After successfully completing my induction phase, I embarked on my first evening of care on a cold, wet and dank evening in December. It was an honour to provide support to such wonderful people and working with a colleague who taught and nurtured me for my first six months in care, two aspects that I constantly refer to as the reasons why I have remained in care.

It was clear that I was ‘hooked’ and not long after joining I was ready to take up a full-time role as a community carer. I embarked on a full-time role and earned my place in the world of elder care. After a year I took my first steps into management by applying and attaining a role in what was termed as ‘office support’. This included full out of hours management of the whole operation of the branch, and in this role I learned so much more about the industry.

Soon, I was applying for a care coordinator post and was successful in managing one of the operational areas directly.

I moved to the learning disabilities area of health and social care in 2012, initially as a coordinator, then after eighteen months, as registered service manager. Since that point it has been a roller coaster ride of branch management, quality management and my current role of area manager for two services.

My career with Eden Futures commenced in 2016, as an Area Manager, and has undoubtedly been the most rewarding in my entire work history. I have enjoyed each day of my role, which is both rewarding and challenging. I feel very fortunate to have arrived within Eden Futures and based on the time I have left in my working life, would love to conclude my career within this organisation.

You can receive training in every aspect of the role of a care and support worker, and I was always very ‘development hungry.’ I have studied both academically and vocationally to support my progression into a management role. Eden Futures has been supportive in facilitating significant opportunities to enhance my qualifications further, and I am currently studying for my Level 5 Registered Management qualification, as well as Level 2 & 3 vocational qualifications in physical therapy.

Yet, the only aspect of care and support that cannot be taught is to ‘care’. I hope that my career from start to finish has been shaped on the fact that I really do care.

Leaving work at the end of any day, knowing that you have had the incredible opportunity to contribute to another individual’s life, is extremely rewarding. A satisfaction that you don’t get in many other job roles.