Sinead Liddy, 25, community support worker
My job is to support people with learning difficulties to live in the community independently. I have about 20 clients spread out across three housing estates, and they all have different support plans and need different levels of care.
Some of them have been living in the community for years and some have been resettled recently from hospital. I help with meal preparations, cooking, shopping and more.
I’ve been doing this for two and a half years and I love it. Nothing makes me happier than encouraging somebody to do something for themselves. Often they can do it; they just don’t believe in themselves.
Encouraging them to do something and then seeing their satisfaction when they can is amazing – even if it’s something like buttering a slice of bread. If I’m off for a few days or I do a stint on nights and they don’t see me for a while they’re like ‘oh where’s Sinead?’ I smile and think ‘oh, they missed me.’
A couple of years ago I had an awful lot of support from one of our regional young members contacts.
I was in a bad place, but she got me through it. The support was unbelievable. Just knowing that outside of home, somebody was there for me made a real difference.
Then I got more involved in UNISON and all these doors opened. I’ve been able to do a university module in health and social care, I’ve become a workplace steward, I’m active in the branch, I’m on the regional committee, I sit on the disabled members committee and I’m chair of the national young members forum.
Being involved in UNISON has given me education and new skills, but also, importantly, being a valued member has given me the confidence to be able to apply them.
As told to Rosa Ellis
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