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Meet Steph: Team Leader, The Albion

Quick Facts about Steph:

Role: Team Leader, The Albion Day Service.

Years worked at Guideposts: 2 years (20 years at The Albion).

Background: Hotel management and retail management, I ran a 20 bedroom hotel.

Interests outside of work: I swim and I love aqua aerobics, I love cooking, and I go on murder mystery weekends, getting dressed up and going somewhere to solve a mystery.

It was a fluke that I ended up working supporting people with learning disabilities. Someone working in the NHS said “you’d be a great support worker. You’re a great listener, you’re always positive and thinking outside the box”. So I applied for a job and got it, and I will have been working here for 20 years in June.  This is where I really feel I fit. This is my Forte, where I need to be. 

In my personal life, I’ve got 35 plus years of supporting friends and family with depression, ADHD, anxiety, OCD, attempted suicides, borderline personality disorders and panic attacks, So I’ve had that in my life a long time.

When I was 6 my father had taken a load of flowers out of the garden although they were still in full bloom, to make space for new plants. I took it upon myself to take them round to local houses and sell them in aid of what was then the Spastic Society. I already wanted to help people who are seen as different. 

Putting people at the centre is what it’s all about. Everything is about them and what benefits them. It’s not what I want to do, it’s what they want to do, and how we can achieve as close to it as possible, if not to actually give them the whole thing.  

I sit down with them and say, maybe some things aren’t achievable, but if you can’t reach the stars, we will get as high up and close to them as we can. 

Seeing the enjoyment on the service member’s face always makes me feel really, really good, giving them opportunities, things they’ve not done before.  

For example, somebody had a passion for fire engines. So one of our staff went into the fire station and asked if there was any chance that maybe they could bring a fire engine down for the guys or if the guys could go up there and sit on the fire engine and push the horn or try the siren. It worked. 

I’m making a difference to these people’s lives in a positive way. It keeps me motivated because while they’re happy and excited and engaged, it makes me want to give even more. That’s what I love about this job. It’s just so varied, so it’s always interesting and I’m always looking for what I can do differently?  

I am a very good listener. And I do have a big heart. I want what’s best for the people who are here, it’s not just a day centre they come to until they go home. I want there to be meaning. I want them to go home, feeling they have had a great day, or saying “I’ve done this and it was great”. That’s what I love. 

If I ever get to retirement, I’d like to be a befriender, like for Guideposts CONNECT at Home. That’s the sort of thing I’d like to do, to go round to someone’s house and chat to them and be a friend to them, help with a bit shopping, that type of thing. I’d love to do that because I work better if I feel I’m doing something to make other people’s lives better.  

 

‘Our Space’ run by Steph, with members from The Albion.

We’ve had visitors come and they’ve said how calming the atmosphere is here. It’s really relaxing and calming, as they come through the door. There’s a warmth. They say it’s just got a really lovely feel and it’s just everything just falls into place.  

I think that atmosphere is created because everyone knows what they’re doing. We plan in advance, so that everyone knows what the plan is for each day. For example, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings are cooking days, and on Monday and Thursday afternoons we do an accessible exercise DVD. And once they know this skeleton, we can add extra bits, like extra trips and when the weather is nice we might take our lunch out, or go down to the park or something. 

Obviously the people are the main thing about it: the members, and the staff team. And the parents and carers of the members as well.  

I’ve got a very supportive staff team who are very knowledgeable and have a lot of experience. Having a supportive team to discuss ideas with always helps. But we always welcome new people with new perspectives and to bring some freshness. 

We are all looking forward to the Guideposts Academy starting here. Particularly the cooking course to start with. Phil (one of the staff team) is a fantastic cook, and he asked if he could do it with a Debbie, one of our members. He’s really up for it, and sees that it’s going to open so many more doors, with people working for their certificates. 

At work, obviously we can’t do everything we want to do all the time, but if we can do it some of the time, it makes work enjoyable, makes you want to come back again. 


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