Diary of a Community Support Worker: Flexi-Choices
How do I spend my Saturday?
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to support someone with a learning disability as a paid job, but quickly dismissed the thought as not for me.
Many people who work for Surrey Choices had no previous experience in social care, but have discovered just how interesting and rewarding being a Community Support Worker really is.
This post describes a typical working day for someone working with the Flexi-Choices respite service that runs evenings and weekends.
How do I spend my Saturday?
I work most Saturdays at our Flexi-Choices service. Every week I look forward to catching up with the adults supported by Surrey Choices, while their families get a well earned break from caring responsibilities.
A funday not education day
Most of the people I support have learning disabilities or autism. They are often at college during the week, so I think it is important they have fun when they visit us. But to be honest, sometimes I think us staff enjoy it the most!
I am mainly based in one of our Surrey Choices activity centres located all over Surrey. It is fully equipped with games, sports and craft equipment, a large industrial kitchen and outdoor space. This means we can really plan the day around the people who come. If a couple of people want to go out we will make that happen too.
For example, cooking is really popular, so we often all walk to the local shops to get our ingredients and then cook together at the centre. After lunch some people might spend some quiet time doing crafts, while others may prefer to run off the lunch in the garden area. It’s about these young people making choices and living the life that they want.
On the job training
Some of the young people have more complex needs and may require hoisting. Everyone gets full training on this, although it is mainly experienced staff who do this type of work. I love to watch people in our sensory room, smiling as the lights change or laughing, as I gently massage their hands.
Before working with Surrey Choices I worked in retail. I enjoyed it, but it certainly didn’t give me the satisfaction of getting to know such a fun group of young people. With their own dreams and aspirations, they are not so dissimilar from the majority of young people. Best of all they enjoy even the small things, like making their own tea.
Sharing my passions
This role also gives me a chance to teach people some of my passions, like crafting, gardening and dancing. I feel like I am making a real difference to people’s lives and giving their families a break at the same time.
I had no experience of this type of work before, but Surrey Choices provided training. I feel much more confident than when I first started, and I have also boosted my skills and knowledge. I am so pleased I made the switch to this kind of social care work. Some people do this job full time, but I just work on Saturdays and one evening during the week. It fits in well with my family and gives me my own sense of achievement .
My recommendation to you
I would really recommend people giving it a go! So come and join the team. As this is a new respite service we have vacancies across the county. I think you would be hard pushed to find a job more satisfying and flexible, but if you are still not completely convinced it is for you, we can arrange a taster session.
What is Flexi-Choices?
Flexi-Choices is a different kind of respite service for family and Carers. Our respite service provides people with an opportunity to learn new skills, get active in their community and have fun on evenings and weekends.
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