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What our staff say
What our staff say

What our staff say

Find out direct from our staff what it’s like to work at Hft: the highs and lows, how they ended up in their role, and what it’s like to work supporting people with learning disabilities.

  • "Her Mum and Dad were over the moon"

    A day in the life of Donna Heath, Service Manager

    I’ve always worked in care and Hft’s definitely the best place I’ve worked. The whole company is really supportive to the people we support and staff are well looked-after too, with a great training scheme. There’s always something new to learn and to help me develop, both work-wise and personally.

    I look after a team of 15 staff and it can get pretty challenging, what with all the staffing responsibilities like staff meetings and appraisals as well as managing house and people’s finances and looking after on-call duties. Luckily, my manager’s brilliant, and the support workers are fantastic too.

    At the end of the day, though, it’s the people we support in the house that make it all worthwhile, especially when I see them doing things they obviously love doing and that they’ve chosen for themselves.

    Seeing people we support achieve something they’ve set their minds to is amazing. I remember supporting one particular person with learning disabilities who was keen to get into work – I put her forward as someone who would benefit from having a job. We knew the process would be challenging for her - but we supported her through it, and she got the job!

    You should have seen her parents’ faces when they saw that their daughter had found her own employment and was earning her own money – they were delighted for her. That kind of thing is what makes Hft so special. We’re a can-do organisation all the way.

  • "It's higher education itself"

    A day in the life of Deborah Lote, Support Worker

    I used to lecture in Health and Social Care, then I went to teach at a resource centre, which was where I came into contact with Hft. I loved their ethos, seeing just how much they encourage people to get the most out of life. So I decided to put higher education behind me, and learn something that seemed to be more meaningful to me.

    There are six people in the house I work at. Whilst I can be looking after any of them at any one time, I’m key worker to two, which lets me provide a more personal service because I can get to know them, their needs and their families much better.

    We do all kinds of things that encourage people to be as independent as possible. We’re always coming up with new ways to support people to make the most of life.

    I took someone I support to Ireland recently, to trace his family roots. It was a very emotional trip for him, meeting up with family he hadn’t seen since he was a child, and it was very moving for me too – this job often is.

    Of course, it can be tough at times too. I’ve had a lot of training to help me support people with dementia and I’m learning new things every day, like how rewarding it is when someone smiles or manages to achieve something new. It’s all about being positive and collaborative, focusing on the best support you can give.

  • "It's a far cry from the steel works"

    A day in the life of John Dodworth, Support Worker

    I never set out to be a support worker – I’m from Sheffield, so I was always expected to go into the steel works, or onto the building sites like my Dad, so I did. Eventually I left the building trade and joined Hft to become a support worker, and I haven’t looked back since.

    It sounds corny but I feel like I really do make a difference to the lives of the nine people I support. I support them in all kinds of ways, like with their hospital appointments, and in speaking up for themselves. It’s the little things in life – things we often take for granted - that make a difference. When you’re working with people you can see how important it is that they make their own choices and have a say in their future.

    Don’t get me wrong, it can get stressful, but if I can bring a smile to someone’s face then it’s worth it. My biggest challenge is how to communicate with some people, so I’ve trained in Makaton, a form of sign language, and that helps a lot. They bend over backwards here to see to it that you get good training.

    We’re always coming up with things to do to encourage people to feel better about themselves; we sail, go to the pub - and even go on holidays. I’ve set up a pool club - that was one of my ideas – supporting people to find work or leisure activities they want to do is a big part of the job.

    I can’t imagine doing another job now that I’ve experienced working with people this way. I know my manager and colleagues have got my back too. I’d rather be a support worker than a steel worker any day.