The cheese sandwich!

As many of you know I work in finance and primarily work at Central. Part of my role is to visit the services to make sure the financial records are kept to a certain standard. This is one of my favourite parts of my job, I love to meet the people we support and engrain myself in their life (if only for a few hours) as it brings home the “why we do what we do” in such a humble fashion.

Upon arrival at one of the services I was told that most of the people we support were out for the day. One lady, Julie, had decided to stay home because she was having a “bad day”. No problem, I was the intruder, so I sat quietly in the office checking the financial records, all kept brilliantly by the way!

So there I was in the house with Julie and the Frontline Manager (FLM), happily ticking away when there was a knock at the door and Julie came in asking me to make her a sandwich (something I found out later that she is very capable of doing herself). I directed her towards the FLM but Julie was adamant that she wanted me to help her, so off to the kitchen we went.

I started to worry a little as this wasn’t my house; I was torn between overstepping boundaries and helping Julie or causing her more pain by getting the FLM to help her. It turned out to be an easy decision to make and on the way to the kitchen I mentioned to Julie that she would have to help me as I had never been in her house before.

My first question was which chopping board to use and where was it? Julie directed me effortlessly. Next question was bread, brown or white? Again Julie pointed me in the right direction. She had asked for a cheese sandwich, so I asked her to find the cheese for me in the fridge and once received it I asked her whether she like it grated or sliced? Did she like butter and if so lots or a little? Crusts, was she an on or off person? Finally cutting the sandwich, was she a triangle or square person?

Once we had finished, I looked up to see the FLM smiling at me. Julie took her sandwich and began to eat it. The FLM praised my interaction with Julie saying that she’d just witnessed a “Great Interaction”.

I was surprised, as to me, a mum of two, it seemed perfectly natural to ask the above questions, but I could see how easy it would have been for me to have quickly made a sandwich for Julie so that I could get back to my work.
Just shows you “it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it” is such a formidable mantra and can be applied to any given situation.


Karen Ballard
Finance Assistant


  • lyn forster says:

    What a lovely day you had then Karen

  • Nicola Payne says:

    Loved reading this! It can be so easy just to complete the task alone and not involve the people that we support. This is how it should be done.

  • Donald says:

    Hiya Karen that was a nice story. If you had just made the sandwich and put in front of Julie, she would maybe of still eaten it, but by you doing it together with her it’s given her a smile and she has learnt how to make a sandwich, yes it’s taken a extra time and well worth it to see a person smile and learn how to make something they don’t normally do.

    Thank-you for taking that little bit of extra time to show how with a not much thought togetherness can be done and without making a song and dance about it. Given me food for thought. :-)

  • Jackie lynch says:

    And yes- its just that simple. Love this blog

  • Tess Marshall says:

    Brilliant Karen, what a lovely story and I would never have thought to ask half the questions you did.

  • Wendy Cook says:

    What a lovely blog. We are so lucky to work in the care sector. 🙂

  • Leander McFadden says:

    Great reflection of an interaction that so easily could have been a ‘done for’ not ‘done with’ situation.

  • Jenny Hunt says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blog Karen! You involved the person we support beautifully and I’m sure you both enjoyed the activity! Well done!

  • Yvette Todd says:

    Which chopping board?! Thank goodness it was you Karen. An amusing story and a great GI moment.

  • Marina Clark says:

    Beautifully written Karen – and you clearly are “a natural” when it comes to interactions!

  • Emma Killick says:

    Hi Karen – thanks for sharing – your reflections made me smile. Yes it really is that simple – “It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it!” and you clearly did it very well indeed so good for you and well done to the FLM for noticing and letting you know that!

    The fact the records were up to standard was an added bonus 🙂

  • Sandi Earlam says:

    well done Karen as you say it would have been quite easy to have just made it …..but you didn’t x

  • Fay Walker says:

    What a lovely blog, it is always good for those of us who are office based to get out and meet the people we support. It just goes to show that all of our staff are caring whether they work directly with people in their homes or in Central. What other company has caring Finance staff! 🙂

  • Andy Jeffs says:

    Hey Karen! If you ever get bored of adding numbers in finance; you can always come and join us at No Limits! Great blog!

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