The Support Worker Story

Natasha’s experience working with us

You might be considering a career in care but you’re not sure what it involves. There are so many preconceptions, so we’ve enlisted the help of one of our lovely team members to help bust a few myths.

Tash has been at Elidyr Communities Trust for almost four years. She knows the charity well as she has worked in administration and education as well as the care team.

Applying for a job at Elidyr Communities Trust

Tash had just returned from travelling and was working towards a qualification to teach English abroad. She needed to find a job that would help to save enough money for a one-way plane ticket.

“My mother kept suggesting I apply for a job at Elidyr Communities Trust, she said ‘it’s not like other care homes Tash, give it a go. You’ve got the right temperament’. For once I listened to her and applied. It was the best decision I’ve made!”

Even though Tash had family members in the care sector she still associated care work with hoisting and medication trolleys, which couldn’t be further from the truth. She quickly realised that Elidyr Communities Trust is not a stereotypical care provider.

People outside at Elidyr Communities Trust.
Every day is different at Elidyr Communities Trust!

No experience working alongside people with disabilities

Although she’d never worked with people with learning difficulties or disabilities she’d had her fair share experiencing and dealing with challenging behaviour. Tash points out that challenging behaviour is not unique to people with disabilities.

“Most of us encounter challenging behaviour every day.  If you’ve diffused a situation by means of communication (which many of us have) then you’ve experience in dealing with challenging behaviour.”

Although she wasn’t worried about dealing with behavioural issues she was nervous about personal care. Being unsure about how to help people with the most intimate tasks was her biggest worry. However, once she was doing the job and she knew the people, it didn’t feel so intimidating.

"Looking back, I feel annoyed at myself for letting outdated perceptions of care hold me back. I would have deprived myself of meeting the most incredible young people who have changed my life.”

What ‘rewarding’ looks like in real life

As a support worker you hear the same thing. Friends and relatives who have never worked in social care will say “Fair play, I could never be a carer” … when actually, they could. Understandably it’s not for everyone but the stereotypes of care are wrong and it’s the smallest things that bring the biggest smile!

Consider making a cup of tea. To many of us making a cup of tea is one single task but to many of our young people, this task is many small hurdles:

  • Locate the cup, tea bag, milk, and sugar
  • Flick the switch on the kettle and wait for the water to boil
  • Carefully pour the hot water over the tea bag
  • Add the milk/sugar and stir
  • Take the tea bag out and put it in the bin
  • Wait for the temperature to cool before drinking

“Watching someone overcome seemingly small hurdles (they’re not small) and seeing their confidence and independence gradually grow. That is what we mean when we say this job is rewarding.”

Workers helping young people at Elidyr Communities Trust
Small everyday achievements mean a lot.

Why people say that working with young people with disabilities is something special

Coming into this role Tash assumed that primarily the young people would be learning skills from her. But quickly she realised it’s a two-way street.

“I have learned so much from our young people. They have taught me patience and perseverance. The relationships that you form with our young people will stay with you forever.”

The bond you form with the young people is so deep. To be successful in the role you have to be able to build trust. It can take weeks, even months to build this. Some of our young people, who are verbal, won’t call you by your name until you have earned their trust.

“When they say your name for the first time it’s an amazing feeling. You feel like you’ve conquered Mount Everest!”

Elidyr Communities Trust is a stepping stone for many which means we inevitably have to say goodbye when placements end. This doesn’t get any easier, and you never forget the impact people have made on your life.

Three young people from Elidyr Communities Trust smiling.
The bond you form with young people is so deep.

Managing the stresses & strains of care work

It's not all rainbows and sunshine. There are days when you go home and feel like sleeping for a week! It’s well documented that the sector is hard work. Tash was given some helpful advice on the importance of managing stress.

“There is a cattle grid at the entrance of the site. A co-worker advised me to leave home stress /work stress at the cattle grid. You must have a positive attitude around the residents and it's equally important to switch off when you go home."

Elidyr Communities Trust from the air
Leave your worries at the cattle grid.

Continuing a commitment to care work after hours

Even now when she’s in an office-based job on site, on a Thursday evening you can still find Tash in one of the houses doing a care shift. She has a great temperament for care work and sees it as her responsibility to help create an environment that encourages the young people to express their opinions.

“I purposely choose to do overtime on a Thursday because I love being a part of the student house meetings. We’re helping young people make choices and learn about any upcoming changes. It’s a lovely thing to see.”

House meeting at Elidyr Communities Trust.
Encouraging the young people to express their feelings.

Everyone who works in care knows that there are bad days and there are great days. It’s the nature of the job but the role never becomes monotonous.

“Almost immediately after having a bad day, it will be a Saturday shift and you’ll be sat on Llansteffan beach eating chips with the residents thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m being paid to do this!’"

If you are looking for a new job and you’re kind and practical why not consider applying for a job with us. You’ll meet some amazing people who could change your life forever. Apply Now