The role of a Support Worker with Camphill Village Trust

The role of a Support Worker with Camphill Village Trust

Meet Gail. Gail is a Support Worker at Botton Village. As part of a team, she supports eight people who live together in a shared home. Prior to working for the Trust, Gail was a Police Officer for over 20 years.

We caught up with Gail to find out more about her and her role as a Support Worker with Camphill Village Trust.

As a Support Worker? What are your main responsibilities at the Trust?

I help people to access the wider community safely by taking people to medical appointments and social or leisure activities. We also help people stay in touch with family and friends.

Keeping people safe by doing health and safety checks such as testing the fire alarm, reporting faults in the building, and making sure people’s homes are safe and secure.  I give medication, help people budget their finances and promote people’s independence by teaching them everyday skills like cooking, cleaning and laundry and promoting good personal hygiene. We record the support that’s provided to people and regularly review what people need.

Obviously, Safeguarding the people I support is also my responsibility which means that if accidents or certain incidents happen, I report them immediately.

Describe a typical day at the Trust for you?

The day starts with a handover from the previous shift where we plan who’s doing what tasks.  I might support people to take their morning medication and then make sure they have healthy breakfast choices available to them. I help people to do their laundry, cook meals and attend medical or social appointments or day opportunities.  I support people to clean their homes, budget planning and food shopping. I support some people with personal care such as teeth brushing and bathing, but that’s not everyone. Everyone’s support needs are different.

Tell us about some of the people you support

There is a range of ages from around 21 to 84 years within the community. The people here live meaningful, healthy, active lives by volunteering and attending a variety of day opportunities where people learn life skills such as gardening, farming, woodwork, weaving, retail, catering and more.  Some people are supported to work or volunteer outside the community.

Why do you work for the Trust?

I work for Camphill Village Trust because I see the difference that the other staff and I make to people’s lives on a daily basis, and I can see that the people we support are safe, well cared for and happy here.  It’s a really positive place to work.  I also like the fact that it’s a job that keeps me physically active as opposed to sitting at a desk all day. I get out and about a lot.

Ultimately though, we all come to work to pay our bills and whilst social care isn’t particularly well paid, Camphill Village Trust pays above the real living wage and a very good rate for sleepover shifts.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

That’s a hard one; I like everything. I do like being able to give people my full attention on a 1:1 basis and getting to know them better, finding out more about their preferences and giving them the opportunity to talk about their worries or plans for the future. I just like seeing people happy, which I do every day.

You’re part of a team. Do you work well together? How do you get through a tough day? Do you have fun working together?

The team is amazing, the best team I’ve ever worked with. I’ve been in my current house for 6 months, and they have made me feel so welcome.  We support each other to make sure that everything gets done fairly.  Our supervisor is a great leader who sets a good example for us.  How do we get through a tough day? We try to prevent tough days by good planning in the days beforehand.  Some days are extremely busy with overlapping appointments, but good planning and organisation is key. We get through the busy days, and yes, we have a lot of fun working together. I think it’s good that the people we support can see how happy the staff are at work and that we rise to challenges with a positive attitude.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your role?

Everything but supporting people to achieve their goals and ambitions is the best.  For me, that could be taking someone to see Status Quo in concert, which I did in February, taking someone swimming, or hearing someone I supported proudly telling their family that they made a whole meal by themselves for the first time or something as simple as helping someone who needs help to put their socks on. Each milestone and achievement is celebrated.

What would you say to someone considering applying to work at the Trust?

I’d say just do it. It’s a really special place. The staff are lovely, the people we support are lovely, and Botton Village is a stunning location.  The culture within the community and the staff team is good.  There are opportunities for overtime, flexible working and career progression, and a good annual leave allowance.  There are also opportunities to apply for other roles within the Trust as they come up, such as working in day opportunities, fundraising or other office-based roles.

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