Making myself redundant!

I work as a relief Learning Support Worker with Milton Keynes Lifelong Learning. For the last two years I have worked one day a week supporting an environmental group called the Green Genies. The group carries out conservation work in the local community. This includes clearing sites for the benefit of wildlife, giving help when required in tidying overgrown gardens belonging to MacIntyre properties and litter picking – to name but a few.

As the work is community based, the group often has the opportunity to meet and chat with members of the public. They work as a team and, to get the best out of the opportunities, this means interacting well with each other and they are very good at this.

It is very rewarding to support a person in learning a new skill. Even more so, when that person comes to you with a big grin on their face, to show you that they have mastered the skill. Cheers and hugs all around!!

Everyone is good at spotting when a job needs doing and using their initiative to get it done. For instance, on a recent garden tidy up, one of the group members was sawing a small branch from a tree. Before I had quite registered that they needed some assistance, another member of the group was there, lending a hand by supporting the branch. I joined in, and together we performed the task successfully.

Another such incident occurred on a recent visit to the tip. An elderly couple was struggling to unload a heavy log from their vehicle. This was spotted by a member of the group who approached the couple and indicated that they would help. Help was accepted and the log was safely disposed of. The couple were really grateful at the subtle way help was offered and had no qualms in accepting it.

I have also been impressed at how warmly the group reacts with the people they meet. They make friends with them at their own pace and once we have all settled down into our work, the laughter flows freely. The best feeling is when I realise that I am virtually redundant and that the team has taken over the job wholeheartedly.

Without the people we support and their willingness to communicate, learn and teach us, there would be no Great Interactions. And when they too have learnt to use the facilitation skills to support each other and interact with the general public, there is no better feeling.

Jane Hill
Relief Learning Support Worker
Milton Keynes Lifelong Learning


  • Louise Taylor says:

    I always look forward to a Monday evening as Jane emails me after every session, capturing the interactions and outcomes from the day. The warmth and commitment for supporting the individuals always comes through. Thank you

  • Emma Killick says:

    Thanks for these reflections Jane.
    The members of the group do a fantastic job, not just in relation to the task at hand but in supporting each other and clearly they extend this to others that they meet – what a great story about the couple at the tip.
    The question for me is where have people learnt those facilitation skills from? I am sure that you have played a part in this by role modelling how to enable people to learn, to interact well together and how to value and respect each and every person’s contribution.
    So well done to you and of course to the Green Genies.

  • Jeremy Bugden says:

    Lovely insight Jane. Two things that shone out, for me anyway, was: “at their own pace” and the interaction in the community with other people.

    Jeremy, Relief Newbee.
    PS once Big Lottery were keen to fund supervised public pathway clearance projects, unsure what the situation is like now (just in case the Green Genies need to secure further funding)?

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