“It’s the best feeling in the world to know that you’re genuinely making a difference to other people’s lives,” says Beth Hemmings.
The 25-year-old fine art graduate works for Bristol-based Silva Care, where she supports adults with learning difficulties, mental health needs, autism and challenging behaviours.
“Every day when I go to work, my goal is to make the people I care for smile,” continues Beth.
“The best part of my job is seeing the positive impact that I am having. To know you have contributed to a young person improving their independence and communication skills and seeing how it can improve their quality of life is probably the best feeling in the world.”
As a creative support coordinator for Silva, Beth says everything she does has the individual at the heart of it and she advises people to ignore the traditional stereotypes associated with sector.
She has spoken out in a bid to help Bristol City Council’s Proud to Care campaign, in collaboration with other local authorities, to overcome challenges with recruiting the right people into the care sector.
Helen Holland, the council’s cabinet member for adult social care, says she hopes the drive will inspire more people to consider it as a career option.
“It really is time that people working in the care sector got the recognition they deserve for the huge contribution they make to our society,” she adds.
The campaign is aiming to reach all potential care workers, but is specifically targeting key audiences, including younger people and those who have studied for a health and social care qualification; parents considering a return to work; over 50s who might want to give something back to their community and students seeking employment over holiday periods.
It was her own experience of caring for her partner that motivated Lindsey Monelle to make the move into care.
“My partner has a brain injury, so I’ve seen first-hand the difference that good care can make,” says the 38-year-old support outreach worker for Headway Bristol, a charity which specialises in helping people with brain injuries.
“I’ve found being a support worker such a rewarding job and every day is different. Ultimately it’s about helping people get the most out of life, whether that be getting out in the fresh air, helping with paperwork, or making lunch; it’s the little things that count.
“I get a real sense of satisfaction from knowing that I’m bringing joy to people’s lives and helping them to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.
“As well as caring for my partner, which I have done for the past 11 years, I also now support people at Headway Bristol’s day centre, working on a one-to-one basis to enable people become more independent.
“Working in care has definitely changed me. I’ve become a lot more understanding and not so selfish and I wouldn’t look back.”
Lindsey, who also has three children, is encouraging anyone considering a career in the sector to research the different roles available and think about how they could apply existing skills.
Find out more via www.proudtocarebristol.org.uk.
Main Photo: Beth Hemmings getting creative with one of the people she works with.