We are sharing stories of how working in residential care can transform lives. By sharing the stories of the people who work in residential care we hope to offer an insight into the skills and experiences of our team and why they are well placed to offer therapeutic care to our children and young people.
Jackie is a Residential Support Worker.
How long have you been supporting young people in one way or another? How do you do this?
I have worked with young people for 30 years. After qualifying as a nursery nurse in my younger days, my first job was working as a nanny for two young children. I nurtured, cared, cooked, washed, provided activities for both and introduced them to the social surroundings appropriate to their age group.
I worked as a nursery nurse for 10 years progressing to a senior position managing the ages 2-3 years’ old. This job involved planning each child’s development plan, working with staff and parents to promote their child’s development and any concerns.
After an employment break for a couple of years as I became a mother to two young boys. I ran the mother and toddler group with friends for a few years. I worked as a Pupil Support Assistant in mainstream nursery and Primary 1. This job consisted of me working one to one with children who needed support.
I had a change of career, moving to work in an additional support unit with children with ADHD, learning difficulties and Autism.
What skills do you bring to the team?
I am known to be a chatterbox; I bring life into a dark room, I am told. My years of experience – I have developed copious amounts of patience. I am a good listener and hope in my work that each child can build, at their pace, their trust in myself and work together to make positives and thrive from them.
I have worked with many children with challenging issues as Autism, ADHD, Tourette’s, Epilepsy and Eating Disorders.
I will turn my hand to anything, willing to give anything a try (even jump from the highest pole setting at Landmark as a young person wanted to do it with me). I love sport, baking, walking, swimming, walking. I love the outdoors!!!
What is your CHT or residential care career highlight?
My CHT highlight is when staff worked together with the young people who didn’t like Christmas. We danced to music outside in the snow on Christmas Eve and turned it around to prepare the table and relax before settling to their bed.
In my experience any small step from the dark unsure life they had to a small step into the future is my highlight – from producing a smile, writing their name, eating something, their first visit to a park – all makes my job worthwhile.
What has been the funniest moment of your CHT or residential care career?
The funniest moment in my residential care is when we were camping in Aviemore. I came back from the washroom and couldn’t find my tent – unknown to me the boys had managed to turn round my tent and disguise theirs!!!!! There I was walking around in my pyjamas until the boys jumped out shouting, “Miss, here we are”, giving me the biggest fright. I can’t type what I said.
What do you enjoy doing when you have some time to yourself?
When I have spare time… what is that? I love walking my dog Cooper, who is a greyhound.
I also enjoy reading a few chapters of a good book until I fall asleep.
What do you think is unique about Tarvit Cottage that supports young people in our care?
In Tarvit we have a genuine, caring support team with many different backgrounds/ knowledge to deliver to each young person who resides at Tarvit. Also, the management team with their experience and expertise.