I joined MacIntyre in April 2016 as a support worker in Wrexham and then in February 2018 progressed to become a Frontline Manager in Shrewsbury, initially starting with one single person service. This is a fantastic little service with one gentleman called Alan who lives there with his cat Gizmo. It is the type of service that ticks along nicely, the fantastic small staff team are extremely dedicated to Alan and he is very happy and settled living in his bungalow. Every time you go there you are greeted at the door by a smiling Alan, who always likes to know what you have been doing, what you have eaten and what radio station you’ve listened to on the way there.
Alan can however become anxious around new people so I tried to pop in regularly so he got used to seeing me; each time I went I made sure I spent time speaking with Alan alongside doing my normal management duties. It soon became very clear that Alan had one absolute passion in life: music. He will listen to music from the moment he opens his eyes until he goes to bed, either listening to Radio 2 or one of the hundreds of CD’s he owns. He will give you a rundown of who he has listened to on the radio, what time they are on and what they have played that day. Music really is a huge part of his life and something that gives him so much pleasure. To see him when he gets a new CD is simply amazing his whole face lights up and he literally beams.
Seven weeks into becoming the new manager of this service came the logistical nightmare: 57 hours a week of staff sickness to try and cover for a month with a now even smaller staff team and not being able to use staff that Alan didn’t know due to his anxieties. So out of the office I came, took off my management clothes and back into the support worker role I joined MacIntyre with and which will always have a big place in my heart.
Those first few days was all about Alan and I getting to know each other and Alan trying to get me to do everything for him thinking that I didn’t know any better; he frequently told me that “staff do it”, ha ha! Gradually as time went on we began building a trusting relationship, taking trips out in my car with Radio 2 blaring away and lots of time chatting to each other. It was soon obvious what I needed to do to continue to build that trust and that was share in his passion so we would spend afternoons listening to music together talking about what CDs we both owned and what songs we liked. One afternoon I suggested we do a music quiz together and Alan jumped at the chance. He chose the 60’s for the era and it was agreed I would play him songs and he would guess the artist. This is when Alan completely blew me away, answering every single artist within the first 15 seconds of the song; some literally on the first beat. There were over a 100 songs on that play list and he got each and every one right, Alan’s music knowledge is simply phenomenal.
Over the month period of covering hours we went through all different era’s and music styles with Alan doing just as well on each music quiz. It brings a smile to my face thinking of how much enjoyment we both had, music is definitely good for the soul.
It was such a positive uplifting experience to be part of and something that I would have never have had without actually working within the service. I am sure I will continue to talk about it with fondness throughout my career with MacIntyre. Oh and I know who is on my team in the pub quiz!
Frontline Manager, Shrewsbury