by Tina Golden
I’m Tina, and I’m a Senior Support Worker at MacIntyre. I’m part of the team supporting Nicole, a young woman with complex learning disabilities, who lives in her own home in Manchester with 24-hour support from us. More on Nicole later.
A Covid career change
Before Covid, I worked as a hairdresser and as local bar staff, but of course when the pandemic hit, both those income streams completely dried up. A friend’s niece suggested a job at a local care provider (not MacIntyre) as a Support Worker, and explained I’d be providing support to adults who have a learning disability.
That was a game changer. I’d never considered a career in social care. I thought it was all about working in old people’s homes. Nothing wrong with that, but I had no idea there were other options. Once I saw the difference I could make in the lives of adults with learning disabilities, I fell in love with care work.
Being a ‘people person’
Of course thinking about it now, I’ve always been one for caring about people and what makes them tick. As a hairdresser you get to know your clients really well, sharing all their joys and sorrows, and bar work is like being an amateur psychologist as customers find you a safe ear for their problems. I’ve brought up four children, mostly as a single mum, and now I have a gorgeous grandson. I realised that it’s all about making great connections with people.
Moving to MacIntyre
Early in 2022, I saw an advert for a new service being opened by MacIntyre very close to my home. I’d actually never heard of MacIntyre before, but it looked like an interesting opportunity, so I applied and got a job as a Support Worker.
Some early challenges
The young woman we support, Nicole, was moving out of a long-stay secure hospital. Her time in hospital had left her a very troubled person, and to be honest I found that initial change of role difficult. I wasn’t sure I was up to the challenge. I took my concerns to our managers and it was helpful to talk it through.
I was offered an alternative role at MacIntyre, but decided to stay with Nicole. I am so glad I did. The difference in Nicole over the months as we worked with her has been truly amazing, and I’m proud of her and of myself.
An inspiring change
MacIntyre’s specialist teams were really helpful in Nicole’s adjustment to life outside the hospital, and in training us, her staff team. Now after nearly two years, I’ve got to know Nicole really well. I can tell what she needs, physically and emotionally. I can see when her mood is changing, when she needs closer support and when she needs space. Working with her even draws on one of my other skills, as I have become her hairdresser!
After a while as a Support Worker, I applied for a promotion in Nicole’s team as Senior Support Worker and was successful. This has given me the opportunity to grow and develop even more. MacIntyre are supporting me to do my Level 2 Care Diploma, and to become a Positive Behaviour Support coach.
Loving learning and keeping busy
I’m loving the learning and how I’m using my brain cells a bit more. There are additional opportunities I’m exploring at MacIntyre as my studies go along.
Meanwhile, I’m the sort of person who loves to keep busy, and I’m still cutting hair for my friends and relatives, and relishing spending time with my grandson.