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 OACP|TALKING CARE|INSPIRATION FOR ALL EVENT|OXFORDSHIRE CARE AWARDS 2016
months of working at Style Acre. I actively encourage all our new starters to use their fresh eyes and let us know if they think there are things that we could be doing better.
I don’t usually see myself as someone who ‘inspires’ but hopefully as someone who has worked their way up from a support worker to aCEOIcanbeagoodrolemodel.Ithinkitis important for a CEO to be approachable, visible and connected to all levels within an organisation like Style Acre. During my induction I spent a day washing up in our tearoom in Blewbury, a day working in our charity shop in Wallingford and I try and visit our services and community hubs on a regular basis. We are also fortunate to have two fantastic operational directors; Ben Lanes and Rob Edmonds­Seal, who manage our supported living and day opportunities services. They both take a very hands­on approach and their visibility and presence ensures that as a senior team we understand what is going on in the organisation and we can make informed and timely decisions when issues arise.
I also think it is important for the CEO to recognise the great work people do and say ‘well done’ and ‘thank you’ as often as possible. People really value the fact that someone has noticed and valued their contribution ­ it doesn’t cost anything to say thank you. It sounds easy, but I know I don’t always do this as well as I could and is one of the areas I want to improve on in 2017.
Recruitment is one of the biggest challenges we face at the moment. We recruit primarily on people’s values and attitudes. I would rather employ someone with minimal or no experience and the right values, a positive attitude and a desire to learn, than someone with 10 years’ experience, but no enthusiasm for the work. Where possible we try and employ people who are a good match to the people they will be supporting and with similar interests. A support worker who enjoys football will give someone they are supporting who loves football a much richer experience than someone who hates sport. If people wake up looking forward to coming to work and turn up with a smile on their face, then they will provide much better support than those who don’t really love being there.
Induction is really important to people, giving them a warm welcome and a period of time to familiarise themselves with what is expected of them. All new staff attend our induction training which focuses a lot on culture and values. We also have a fantastic group of
managers, who lead by example and support staff throughout their time at Style Acre. They have the ability to see beyond the reason why someone requires care and they support them as a unique and wonderful individual enabling them to reach their full potential.
Caring is all about people, so I believe the best way is to talk to those who currently do the work and are involved in the sector. There are also loads of volunteer opportunities across the County to give aspects of the job a try and to get to know what the different organisations are really like before taking the plunge.
We all want to be proud of who we work for and this Award makes me and those, who work here that little bit more proud. It is fantastic to get some recognition for the great work that the team here do and be able to shout about the great outcomes that they have achieved.
Our reputation is very important to us, we pride ourselves on delivering great quality services to people, awards like this show that we are getting things right for people.
    The Care Employer Award
Highly Commended:
The Camden Society Supported Living ­ Oxford
    Set on a career in architecture when she left school in the mid 70’s, Gail began work as a Quantity Surveyor. Experiencing a downturn in the economy, one of several in Gail’s working life, she was made redundant. Unsure of what do next she got a job as a care support worker (with a 50% pay cut) with Ridgeway Partnership (NHS Learning Disability). After two years Gail became team leader and eighteen years later left as care service leader. ‘I never went back to surveying, because I love working with people even though I barely earn more today than I did 24 years ago!’
Gail joined The Camden Society as a Service Manager in 2012 and is now a Registered Manager for the supported living services in Oxford. Gail explains: ‘The Camden Society supports adults with a learning disability to live in the community. The Society was founded in the London Borough of Camden in 1965 by parents of children with learning disabilities. Some parents formed a group in order to offer emotional and practical support to others and campaigned for a more inclusive society for people with learning disabilities.
At that time, children with learning disabilities were often sent away from their families, to be 'cared for' in long­stay institutions, sometimes for life. Others were excluded from the education system and were isolated from their
   Adult Social Care...Needs YOU! Make a difference to other people’s lives
“Caring is all about people, so I believe the best way to get into care work is to talk to those who currently do the work and are involved in the sector. Volunteer get to know an organisation.”
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