Story 73

Make Leonard proud

Leonard Cheshire proved that just one person can really make a difference. I always tried to remember this when I was a support worker and I keep it in mind now when I'm helping members of my team to support people in our services.

Jonathan skydiving

That’s how his legacy, his drive to help people, inspires the work I do today.

I joined Leonard Cheshire’s Hydon Hill service in 2012. I saw what care should be all about there — giving people the opportunity to be seen as a human being. And now I’m like a Leonard Cheshire Disability stick of rock: it’s written right through me. I went from support worker, to team leader, to activities and daycare co-ordinator at Hydon Hill, before moving to Fethneys to become deputy manager.

Our support workers and services have different specialities. I have worked more with people who have physical impairments. A big part of my work, as well as providing support, has been helping people see the person and not just the wheelchair.

The biggest moment I’ve had at Leonard Cheshire Disability is supporting someone to communicate verbally for the first time in over 20 years. This was Annmarie at Hydon Hill, using Eye Gaze technology, which allows people to access a computer by using a mouse that you control with your eyes. Helping her find her voice was the best day I’ve experienced working in the care sector.

There are so many other important steps it’s been amazing to watch individuals take. Things like seeing someone being able to eat by themselves for the first time in years; these ‘little’ things non-disabled people might take for granted are really significant and promote independence. It’s important for us to step back sometimes and remind ourselves as staff what we help people to achieve and not get lost in the day to day things.

I try to get involved in lots of fundraising for the Leonard Cheshire Disability services where I’ve worked. I’ve jumped out of a plane and taken part in a firewalk; I’m looking for my next challenge now! I also used my spare time to do a bit of manual labour refurbishing Hydon Hill’s old huts. I’m not unusual for that, though: so many staff are passionate that they use their free time to go above and beyond for the people they support.

I hope I inspire people to be part of Leonard Cheshire Disability and I hope how I do my job would make Leonard proud.  We as staff should be proud of what we achieve every day in every service. I am honoured to be part of the team and future of Leonard Cheshire Disability.

It's important for us to step back sometimes and remind ourselves as staff what we help people to achieve and not get lost in the day to day things.