What is it like being a support worker?
"It has been the most incredible journey.
"I enjoy being able to help people achieve things they didn't believe they could. Turning an "I can't" into an "I can, and I'm looking forward to it".
"The role can be challenging as there are times when there are not enough staff and there are long hours that circumstantially arise with that. At first the personal care side of the role was a challenge, but I have adapted and it's not an issue - we all need support.
"I love that every day is different. One day I am out getting a food shop, and the next day I will be on a boat cruise. I've been on a supported holiday and attended shows, and I have sat in important medical meetings and fought for disability equipment."
What are the people you support like?
"They have a brilliant sense of humour, and are so kind and caring. I love sitting down and having chats with them, over a cup of tea (which they always offer to make me!)
"They have so many hobbies, and they've almost always out and about. Recently we have been to Banham Zoo and are currently planning a trip to Great Yarmouth."
What is your proudest moment?
"I have helped some people I support get a job. It was my biggest learning curve. Giving them the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and have independence was very rewarding."
How did you become a support worker?
"I used to work in a supermarket. One day a group of supported people were getting their weekly food shop, and their support workers mentioned the job to me in passing.
"I thought, why not? It's god to be better to be doing something that makes a difference and can make me smile.
"I already had some experience of learning disability - I have a cousin who has a mild learning disability and my dad is a support worker.
"I went online to learn more and my eyes were completely opened. I was fascinated by the incredible things people could achieve when they had positive support around them. I wanted to be that person to help people get to where they want to be.
"I took a leap of faith, and because a support worker."
What is it like working for Mencap?
"My training was thorough and fully supportive. Every trainer ensured I was confident and competent, and were contactable beyond my training.
"Mencap comes from the very heart of learning disability - a group of parents who just wanted inclusion, equality and the right support so that their children could thrive.
"As an organisation they are ever-changing and evolving with the times. They really live their values on a daily basis. They have such a can-do attitude.
"I have a good relationship with all my colleagues, my managers are always available for advice and my area manager has a great supportive nature."
What would your advice be to someone who wants to become a support worker?
"I would say give it a go. People would be surprised what my job truly involves and I'm sure there are many people out there who, if they tried support work, would thoroughly enjoy it.
"To be a support worker you have to be resilient, ready for challenged and compassionate. Kindness, patience and consideration goes a long way with the people we support. If you're inclusive and like venturing out of your comfort zone, then support work may be right up your street.
"It certainly isn't boring and comes with plenty of food for thought!"
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