Making a difference…

Mary has been living at Cherriton for 24 years now, since the service opened. Mary particularly enjoys shows and classical music amongst other things! I am Mary’s linkworker and I ensure that she is receiving the support she wants to go on holiday, do activities, meet up with her family and live the life she wants. I also check what’s working and not working for her in everyday life.

It is difficult at times to plan an exact choice of a day trip or hobby with Mary as she appears to find it difficult to express this choice, so we observe her body language and any patterns of behaviour which may show a like or dislike.

One thing is for sure, when Mary went to a classical group tribute show for her birthday, I saw a different side to her. Mary was giggling, tapping her feet and moving to the music in the tribute show! This was wonderful to see as Mary is usually quite shy and reserved. I was so pleased and felt a special connection to Mary as she appeared to get a lot out of the evening and had such a lovely time.

I could also sense, through touch, that Mary was relaxed during the evening, as when she was linking onto me for support to walk about the theatre, she was not anxious about anything, I got the sense she was looking forward to just being there- having a drink before the show and of course just enjoying the show itself.

I also made sure I used short sentences and a quiet voice with Mary to talk her through every step of the evening, as this appears to relax Mary when communicating with her.

I then reflected on the journey of how we got to this birthday night out for Mary:
Everything from thinking about what Mary appears to like, sharing the idea of the show with Mary and the people in her life, helping Mary to buy the tickets, helping Mary onto the house vehicle to go to the show and just being with Mary to share in the joy of her evening and then bringing Mary back home and knowing she looked like she had really enjoyed herself!

This particular event with Mary made me realise again, how even the smallest of planning can make a big difference in the life of a person we support. It also makes me think about how our interactions play such an important part in a person’s life to make it as fulfilling as possible- no matter how complex or not so complex a person’s learning difficulty is.

I’m privileged to be part of the lives of the people who live at Cherriton and in particular Mary’s life for the last five years and I thank you for making me realise how our Great Interactions can mean so much. Thank you Mary and thank you MacIntyre!

Craig Dougan
Support Worker


  • Kate Webb says:

    What a lovely story! Clearly a fantastic interaction and a wonderful time for Mary. You are clearly in the right job, keep on doing what you do, it is obviously working. Thankyou for sharing ☺

  • fiona mutch says:

    What a lovely experience for all involved. Well done craig on using the facilitation skills and knowing Mary well enough to provide the support and reassurance for her to fully enjoy the event.

  • Leander McFadden says:

    Thanks for sharing Craig – looks like you both had a great time… As Bill Mumford used to say – it’s not always the champagne moments we need to celebrate…. a little goes a long way… Well done on such a positive reflection

  • Donna Rolfe says:

    I think you are absolutely right, the planning is so important and it is the little things that make such a difference. This is an excellent example of real person centred planning. Great attention to how Mary communicates and how you have to communicate with her. What a partnership and this is what makes great interaction. Congratulations on great work and thank you so much for sharing. Donna Rolfe. Speech and Language Therapist. Ireland.

  • Donna Rolfe says:

    Brilliant planning !

  • Emma Killick says:

    Great blog Craig thank you – there is something very special about live music and it’s great that you reflect on the journey before and after the trip – preparing for a special night out and then sharing the memory with others afterwards is all part of the excitement and fun. Lovely photos!

  • carole mckay says:

    aawwww…..nice one craig, you are gonna be so missed at cherriton…

  • Jean Lee says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog Craig, well done.

    • Linda Hunter says:

      Craig lovely story and it was lovely to hear from you how much Mary has given to you in with her interactions. You obviously love your job and his is what makes Macintyre special the commitments from such as yourself

      • Craig Dougan says:

        Thank you everyone for your feedback and it’s been a pleasure helping the people we support and working with the team at MacIntyre. I look forward to many more years with the company

  • Andrea Hartley says:

    Well done Craig,you have proved good interaction and using the person centred approach will bring a lot of happiness to Mary,love reading your blog.

  • Jade Thomson says:

    So glad that Mary had a great birthday Craig! Well done for a fantastic blog x

  • Craig Dougan says:

    thank you both lovely comments

  • Fay Walker says:

    What a lovely blog. Nice to see and hear how you reflected to give Mary a birthday treat she would really enjoy! Great work!

  • Liz Fraser-Smith says:

    Its such a joy to be able to share a fantastic evening with the people we support, we are lucky to be doing what we do!
    Well done Craig! and Happy belated birthday to Mary.

  • Lynn Kennedy says:

    Thank you for sharing Craig, lovely to hear Mary is experiencing activities she enjoys and the responses Mary is giving is amazing.

    Best wishes

  • Jeremy Bugden says:

    Thank you Craig; the still small voice of calmness and support in bite size pieces seems to suit Mary’s needs so well, not to mention the way she relaxes with her favourite hobby Music. Keep up the good work (response delayed whilst as I have been away!).

    • Craig Dougan says:

      Thank you Jeremy! Yes this sort of support and the evening really benefited Mary and it puts that icing on the cake for me in the role I undertake at Cherriton, to see the joy on the faces of the people we support. Everyone has been very complimentary about this blog and I’m sure it means a lot to Mary and it does mean a lot to me as her support worker.
      Thank You

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