Five minutes with a Norwood support worker: “…it’s the best thing I ever done!!!”

4 February 2019

Five minutes with a Norwood support worker: “…it’s the best thing I ever done!!!”

Norwood offers a range of services to adults with learning disabilities to help make their lives meaningful and to support them to live as independently as possible. Residential accommodation services are offered throughout Brighton, Harrow, Hendon, Ilford and Stanmore, as well as in Berkshire where Ravenswood is based. Ravenswood is an established community that for 65 years has been a supportive and lively home to people with learning disabilities.

We took five minutes to chat to Vicki who works as a support worker in Eretz, one of the 13 care homes based at Ravenswood. Eretz currently houses ten people with learning disabilities and some with physical disabilities – the home was recently rated ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Vicki, I’ll be 45 next week and I have worked for Norwood for 18 months now. I live in Crowthorne – have done pretty much all my life – and love the feeling of giving back to the community through this role.

How did you become a support worker?

I chose this line of work because my younger sister has Down syndrome and when she and my mum moved away, life felt a bit empty so I decided I would like to put my knowledge to use.

Do you have any qualifications?

When I started a Norwood I didn’t have any qualifications but I am currently doing my QCF Level 2 through Farnborough College of Technology. This is funded by Norwood and I love it because I only attend College one day every two weeks and can apply my learnings immediately on the job.

What’s a ‘normal’ day like for you?

A normal day for me begins at 7am. I have been trained up to dispense medication to residents so being here first thing is quite important.

Then it’s onto personal care and breakfast, followed by a morning activity (this varies daily – there’s a huge variety of activities provided onsite by our Complementary Activities team). Before long it’s lunch followed by either a little rest time for our residents or the option of more activities. Dinner fly’s around, which normally sees all of us (residents and carers) share a meal at the ‘family’ dining table. After that we have some chill out time in evening. That is unless it’s disco night – a huge favourite of the residents!

Come the end of the day you don’t know where the time has gone and it’s time for home.

I am a key worker too and I absolutely love it. It’s so rewarding to see the person I directly support grow in confidence and to share her achievements. She has a variety of needs and some are slightly complex, but once you get to know her and understand her ways it’s simple and just like any other two-way relationship. I listen to her needs and I meet those needs.

For example, she likes to sing so quite simply… we sing everyday.

Have you learnt anything during your time at Ravenswood?

Working for Norwood I have learnt not to be scared of the unknown. If you’re willing to learn, anything is possible and Norwood knows how to help you accomplish your goals.

Have you found any of your work particularly rewarding?

I have found all aspects of my job rewarding. I don’t think there is anything I don’t enjoy.

What is the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job, far and away, is the people we support. They are incredibly compassionate, and often misunderstood. You only need to spend five minutes at Ravenswood to see how welcoming they are: they literally greet new comers and visitors with open arms.

Tell us about your colleagues

My work colleagues have now become my second family; they fit like a glove. It’s all about team work and I figure if you have that, then you can’t go too far wrong.

Before finishing your shift you…

Before I finish my shift I always ask myself: ‘Did I do the best I could?” And so far, the answers have been “yes”.