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“Why I’m Glad to Care”: Meet Michelle who tells us why she is happy in her work.

Published: 09/07/2021

Michelle is a Team Manager at Avalon House in Essex, a care home for adults with learning disabilities, epilepsy and dysphagia. During Glad to Care Awareness Week 2021, she told us about her role, how she started out in care, and what she looks for in new team members.

Why do you enjoy working in care?
Every day is different and, to be truthful it might sound like a bit of a cliché, but I love going in to see our customers. You know, they get excited to see you and they want to know where they’re going and what they’re going to do today. It’s really fantastic.

Being in care is about making people’s lives better and I just love it. I love seeing the smiles on our customers’ faces and giving them the opportunity to do things they’ve never done before. Like going on a cruise and visiting Disney Land Paris. It just gives you a buzz. The satisfaction that you’ve achieved something for someone is incredible.

What has the last year been like for you?
The last year has been really hard. Not just for me and the staff, but for our customers as well because they weren’t all able to go out. So we had to think outside the box.

We used to take our customers to the shops every few days to have a little look around, and they loved it, but obviously, they were all closed during the lockdown. We didn’t want them to miss out on that experience. So we thought ‘if they can’t go to the shops, we’ll bring the shops to them’.

We had a jumble sale in the garden where I purchased loads of stuff for them to buy. We gave them these handmade cardboard credit cards and it was like they were going to the real shops. We took a load of photos and got them printed so they could remember the day forever.

How did you get into care?
I started in 1999 as a support worker and didn’t know if the job would be for me because not everyone likes working in care. But as soon as I started I just thought ‘wow, this is it’. I could give something back to our customers and, to be truthful, they gave a lot more back to me. I knew that this was where I wanted to be, so I started working my way up.

This Sunday will be 22 years since I joined Peabody. The business gave me the opportunity to grow my career, which is really really good.

What do you look for when you recruit people?
When I interview people, I look at their values rather than their skills or experience. You can tell a lot about whether someone is going to do well in care from their attitude and the way they think about people.

I still remember someone who didn’t work in care telling me they weren’t sure if it would be right for them. But I thought she had a really good, caring nature, so we gave her a chance to find out for herself. After a day on the job she said to me: ‘oh my gosh, it is not what I thought it was. Can I come back, can I come back?’ She stayed with us for 8 years.

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