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A Social Enterprise providing community based support for adults with learning disabilities and/or autism and mental health in the South West
Meet the Team: Colin's Story

Meet the Team: Colin's Story

18 April 2020

A few years ago I lost my Mum and Dad. Dad went suddenly, but Mum had bowel cancer. I was working in production at the time and my employers were not at all understanding and in the end, I lost my job. Mum was receiving palliative care and my Son was supporting her with day to day care.

The Local Authority appointed a care company to support my Mum and I was really unhappy with the standard of support they provided, to me it felt as though they didn’t care at all. It was this direct, first-hand experience that inspired me to become a Support Worker. I had no idea what I was going into, but I hoped that I could succeed. 

I told Andy (the CEO of You First) my back story at my You First interview. I also told him about my Son who has a chronic lung condition and is currently having to self-isolate due to coronavirus. At the point of joining You First I had not been able to work for a year. To my joy and surprise You First were really understanding of my circumstances. 

I remember meeting someone You First supports for the very first time. Nathalie (Operational Director) closely supervised me and introduced me to the person. I had lots of questions, but it became clear that I could ask anything, noting was too trivial or small and I was provided with answers and reassurance.

I have been working as a Support Worker with You First for 4 years and the level of support I experienced when joining the Social Enterprise continues. For example, the impact that the pandemic has had upon my Son has been factored into my rota and managers have dealt with this with understanding and a high level of respect. 

Managers email the entire team every day with updates which helps us all feel valued, informed and connected to You First. 

I feel very valued as a member of the You First team. I thoroughly enjoy the work, not only from the organisational perspective but most importantly from the perspective of the people we support. To me, it’s not a job, but a way of life. 

If you’re thinking of becoming a Support Worker but, like me, don’t have Support Worker experience, please don’t worry. What matters is your life experience, the respect you have for yourself and, more importantly, the respect, care and consideration you have for others in this world. The rewards are immense. Seeing the people you support expand their horizons, grow in confidence and learn new life skills. My aim as a Support Worker is to see people grow to the point where they no longer require my support. 

One chap I support has won an award for his photography and has now passed his driving test! Seeing him grow and realise these achievements is what the job is all about. After the pandemic he plans to get a car. 

These are the reasons why I do what I do; seeing people grow like this is the biggest reward.

If you would like to join the You First team, just drop us a line and we will be in touch with you!