When April Hall was made redundant from an unfulfilling job, opening letters at a mail support office, it gave her the chance to finally pursue her dream career. Now she is making a difference to the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism in her role as a support worker.
April had the chance to sit share her love of Support Work with the Express and Star in May.
April always believed working in social care would be out of her reach as she didn’t think she would have the necessary skills. But after doing some research, the 35-year-old, from Telford, was happy to discover that she was able to apply for the rewarding role she had always wanted.
“I always used to see people in the town centre supporting others, and would be in such admiration of them. But I didn’t think it was possible for me to get a job in social care because I didn’t do very well in school,” she says.
“If I’d have known it was possible 10 years ago, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to become a support worker.”
April has been working for Dimensions for two and a half years and her only regret is that she didn’t decide to take the plunge and change careers sooner.
“Getting a job in social care changed my life. Not only has it enabled me to get qualifications, but it’s given me a depth in my life that I never thought I’d have, and a fulfilment that I never thought I’d get from a job.”
The dream job
April provides one-to-one support to 14 people, ranging in age from those in their late-teens to those in their 50s, in Telford. She is on hand to help with a broad range of day-to-day tasks such as cooking and cleaning as well as shopping and socialising.
“It’s a privilege being around the people I support. There’s always going to be tough days, but there’s a lot more good days, happiness and laughs. It’s amazing to be able to help people become more independent, and seeing how much they gain from it,” she says.
Her role also includes organising fun day trips to destinations such as Blackpool Illuminations and Barmouth beach.
At the moment outings are on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak and April says it has meant “thinking outside the box” to replace these with indoor activities.
She has also been helping the people she looks after to cope with the difficult circumstances and making sure they know how to stay safe. “It’s also important to check that they are not worried or scared by what is going on in the world at the moment and to reassure them if they do have any fears or are concerned by anything they have read,” April explains.
One way to do this is by staying positive herself. She also helps the people she’s looking after see through theories they may have seen being shared on social media by “myth-busting”.
The people April supports have been helping to spread hope during the coronavirus outbreak by covering their building in Telford with pictures of rainbows. These colourful pictures have become a way to provide positivity up and down the country since the crisis began.
April, who has undergone training including earning a Level 3 NVQ qualification in health and social care for supporting people with learning disabilities, says the best thing about her job is spending time with the people she is supporting each day.
“They are so sweet, kind and caring. I love hanging out with them and supporting them and being that one person in their life that they know they can rely on.”
The dream trip
Supporting a lady on a trip to Disneyland Paris was one of the proudest moments of April’s social care career so far. The lady had never travelled abroad before so the trip took a huge amount of planning, including designing a way to communicate in crowds, preparing for the experience of flying, and making sure each day had an organised structure.
“The holiday meant more to the lady I supported than anyone could imagine. She loved and relished every second she was there, got pictures with lots of her favourite characters and saw everything she wanted to see.”
“Mostly it was a mark of her growth and confidence she has gained through the support she has received from Dimensions,” April explains.
She is extremely grateful that she found her dream career in support work and wants to encourage more people into social care roles. And April believes that once the coronavirus crisis has lifted, people will want to continue to look out for each other and helping their community.
“I couldn’t recommend it more highly. I know every day I’m making a difference”