Page 28 - TalkingCare_Issue3_WebVersion_OACP Winter 2017
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  The Oxfordshire Hero Award
Joint Winner:
Sam Cleary
Style Acre ­ supporting people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire
   Sam trained in Beauty Therapy from the age of 16 for three years, “I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do at the time, so I did Beauty”. Sam’s Mum and sister both work in the care sector in Oxfordshire supporting people with Learning Disabilities, her Mum working for 20 years and her sister a support worker for over 7 years. Reaching the age of 19 Sam re­evaluated her career, influenced by those closest to her Sam applied for a job as a Support Worker.
Sam’s role as a Support Worker encompassed supporting adults with learning disabilities to enable them to live independent fulfilled lives. The induction programme included enrolment onto the Care Certificate (designed to equip health and social care workers with the skills they need to provide compassionate care). Sam’s daily shifts were ‘person­centred’ supporting and assisting people ­ one to one ­ between the ages of 18 ­26 who had complex autism and learning disabilities, to do the things they needed help with. Sam comments: “I would help them to get washed and dressed if necessary, with shopping and cooking ­ with everyday activities, that we all take for granted, I would also encourage them to try new things too. I found I had a natural affinity with people with autism I could communicate with them where others struggled.”
Encouragement, training and investment in her abilities by her employer enabled Sam to develop and gain new skills. Sam comments: “I have been encouraged to progress in my job roles, management have believed in my abilities and supported me at every step, I know that if I need anything I can call upon my line manager at any point for advice”. Moving upwards in her social care career Sam became an Assistant Support Manager, “the paperwork increased, more administration, staff supervision, staff rota organisation and writing care plans ­ overseeing staff was a big part of my job to ensure safe staff changes and service user safety at all times”.
Sam says, “Society has changed, people with Learning Disabilities are more visible and accepted, which is a really good thing. Person centred one to one care means service users are able to get out into the community and experience and join in the world around them”. When young people with Learning Disabilities reach 18 they have the opportunity to transition away from their family unit. “It is a big step for the family and the service user. Relationship building and trust are important factors ­ working with the family to gain a clear insight as to what would be best for their son or daughter is huge, knowledge of their wellbeing and continuity of their care and support for their future is of paramount importance to the family. The term ‘transition’ describes the process of moving from childhood into adult life. Transition can be challenging for everyone, but even more so for people on the autism spectrum, their families, parents and carers. Any transition therefore needs careful planning”.
Sam, who is an incredibly positive person, passionate about the care she provides, has created a dedicated, skilled team providing the best possible care to the people her organisation supports, often going out of her way to help those she supports, ensuring their needs are met. Six years on, Sam is now a Support Manager, managing two supported living houses in Didcot, one of which is an innovative new service, which Sam developed, co­ordinated and delivered in 2016. The new service enables four people with autism and complex behaviours to remain living in the County near their families. Had Sam not driven forward the opening of the house, they would have needed to move outside the area to find care. Built on the success of developing her other service in previous years, her amazing
leadership skills ensure the people who live there, and families and staff are continuously happy and motivated. “Opening the service in Didcot ­ a new service, overseen and delivered from scratch was a great experience”, says Sam.
Ben Lanes, Operations Director at Style Acre says, “Sam is an excellent leader – when difficult situations arise, she leads from the front, showing everyone the best way forward, she is an excellent role model. A fantastic example of someone completing our Leadership Development Programme to become a warm, talented leader. Sam is an inspiration to us all”.
Sam says, “I would encourage anyone with a kind and caring personality, who feels they could do the job and has a genuine interest in care – to consider care work as a career. It is so rewarding!
I am passionate and driven to ensure people in need of care get the best possible care and support, to ensure their happiness and to ensure they are living in the right place is so important. To see someone settled, happy ­ smiling and laughing, chilled and relaxed and safe ­ gives me a great feeling ­ it is also enormously beneficial to their family and care staff.
I would just like to add that if you do have an interest in care you wouldn’t be turned away ­ it would be the best decision you could make ­ caring is at the forefront of everything we do ­ caring can be fun and rewarding and with value added in terms of personal development, it is a career with opportunity”.
    Adult Social Care...Needs YOU! Make a difference to other people’s lives
“I would encourage anyone with a kind and caring personality, who feels they could do the job and has a genuine interest in care – to consider care work as
a career.”
Get into care work today! You’ll NEVER look back...

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