‘You work with people who treat you like they are your family' - campaign shows life-changing roles in social care
The ‘Social Care – Making a Difference’ campaign, which has been developed by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council on behalf of the Department of Health, aims to shine a light on the diversity, impact and importance of the 43,000 strong social care workforce and the positive difference they are making in people’s lives.
People like Andrea Sloan, a support worker who has three children at home to whom she is devoted. But she is also dedicated to the care of the residents at Camphill Community, Mourne Grange in Co Down, a supported living scheme for adults with learning disabilities and its focus is on living and working together.
The adults who live there are encouraged to contribute and work towards a community and family feeling.
“Mourne Grange is people centred. You are working with people who treat you like they are your family, who love and respect you and you show that back to them,” she says.
“My role is to give them the comfort, security and stability to know that they can come to me with any issue or problem.
“I can’t fix everything but together we can work it out. I’m their security network; behind them supporting them.”
It was particularly hard when Covid-19 hit Northern Ireland and the residents weren’t able to see their own families. More than ever, Andrea became their rock.
“Covid’s been tough – the workshops had to stop. Explaining to the residents why they were not allowed out, why we were wearing face masks, was tough.
“We have done so well to prevent it from coming in. My family has been extra careful as they know mummy was afraid to bring it in. Hopefully we are on the other side of it.”
Mourne Grange is a ‘magical’ place, Andrea says, that offers something unique. It provides security and allows the adults who live there to thrive and develop in a safe, comfortable network.
“Nobody is better than anybody,” says Andrea.
“Emptying the bins is as important as cooking the meal. All the staff are here because of the residents – they make this place.”
If you have been inspired by Andrea and want to learn more about a career in social care and the positive difference it makes in people’s lives visit https://niscc.info/social-care-stories/