Story 46

Making people feel at home

I joined Leonard Cheshire because I loved the idea you could have a hotel that offered care. I had wanted to be a nurse, but I realised that blood was not my thing. Making people feel at home and relaxed was.

Tess Gilder

I think what I love about my job is that we really do make a real difference to people’s lives. We enable people to have a break, and their carers can have a break too. It’s amazing when you help people do something as simple as have a bubble bath with the sound system on, or have breakfast in bed late in the morning.

This can be a big contrast to when they are at home, where they might shower and have meals at regimented times. We also offer people the tools to go out and about without worry, whether we find them a local guide, a wheelchair accessible taxi or arrange for them to have dinner in a local pub. And I love it when guests come back — then I know we have provided a good service.

This is my dream job. However tired I am, the guests just keep me going. It gives me great satisfaction because we are all so passionate about ensuring people have a lovely time. I feel very lucky to work with people who are never complacent, always going that one step further.

And if I had a wish for disabled people in the future? I think hotels could do more a lot more than they are doing to make rooms and holidays accessible, and I do think Leonard Cheshire leads by example.

What I love about my job is that we really do make a real difference to people’s lives. We enable people to have a break, and their carers can have a break too.