Barbara Godwin, a 76 year old support worker from Takeley near Bishop’s Stortford, is celebrating a milestone 25 year work anniversary at Hft.
Barbara, who supports adults with learning disabilities to live the best life possible, credits being able to enrich the lives of the people she supports and the flexibility of her organisation as the reasons behind her many years of service – and she’s hoping to stay at the charity for the foreseeable future.
After working in various finance roles, Barbara entered support work unexpectedly when she got talking to adults with learning disabilities locally. She initially worked on an on-call basis in the evenings, and then applied to become a support worker at Hft when she moved to Hertfordshire.
Fostering strong relationships with people she supports has been crucial to Barbara, who has supported one man, Michael, since beginning work at Hft. She’s watched his confidence and independence grow over the years, supporting Michael’s move from residential accommodation to shared supported living and now to his own tenancy.
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Reflecting on her anniversary, Barbara said:
“I absolutely love my job and have met so many brilliant people over the last 25 years. My greatest achievement has been helping the people I support achieve their goals and learn to do new things. For example, during my career I’ve taught lots of people to use public transport independently which makes such a difference, allowing them to go where they want to go and boosting their confidence enormously.
“Support work isn’t always a career people consider but I would encourage anyone thinking about it to go for it. You just need to be patient, caring, and understanding, as well as sympathetic and empathetic. When you really get to know the people you support and build up a great relationship you can change someone’s life.”
Other highlights of Barbara’s 25 years as a support worker include accompanying a young man with a passion for football to attend a Milton Keynes Dons match in 2008, where he was surprised with a once in a lifetime breakfast with the team and their manager.
Local Service Manager Sylwia Baginska, said:
“Long-serving support workers are the bedrock of what we do at Hft, and Barbara is a shining example to the next generation of support staff. Her dedication and commitment, as well as her experience and knowledge of support work, are absolutely priceless. She’s developed extremely valuable relationships with people we support and their families, and always brings out the best in people.”
As for the future, Barbara says she’s unlikely to retire any time soon. Over the years, she’s reduced her hours and now works one day a week. She says she’ll continue to volunteer for Hft should she one day retire, saying: “I know that I would miss it so much if I didn’t do it.”
Notes to editors
For further information please call our media enquiries line on 0117 906 1697.
Hft is a national charity supporting more than 2,500 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Established in 1962, the charity uses its own unique Fusion Model to consistently deliver high quality, person-centred support across all its services.
Services range from supported living to residential care – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.
For more information about Hft, please visit www.hft.org.uk
Information about learning disabilities
A learning disability can be mild, moderate, severe or profound and is defined as having a reduced ability to:
- Understand new or complex information
- Learn new skills
- Live independently
For more information about learning disabilities, please visit www.hft.org.uk/resources-and-guidance