Social care – an unlikely but rewarding career path for young musician
When Sam Toms’ music career came to a halt at the hands of the Covid-19 pandemic, he was forced to make a quick decision on what to do next. This decision led him to support work in adult social care and he has since fully immersed himself in his new career. Sam is hoping to inspire others to do the same to address the workforce crisis in social care.
Sam has been working as a support worker for national learning disability Hft for a year and a half. He helps run the Market Harborough day service, supporting adults with learning disabilities with a number of activities and day trips, from swimming to bowling, and sailing to arts and crafts.
Sam explains, “Every day is a lot of fun and is filled with constant laughter. My favourite recent event has to be the talent show we put on for Hft’s 60th anniversary towards the end of last year. We helped all the acts find costumes for their performances and I was even persuaded to compère the entire show. It was just like Stars in Their Eyes and it was brilliant. I loved it.”
However, social care was not always in Sam’s plans. Prior to joining Hft, Sam was focused solely on his music career, having played in bands ever since he left school. He had toured the world performing in gigs as far as Asia and South America.
Yet, when the Covid-19 pandemic began, this all stopped suddenly. With gigs coming to a universal halt, Sam had no income and was forced to make a quick decision about his career.
Having both a sister and a friend who are support workers, Sam decided to seriously consider a similar role and felt he found a good fit when his friend showed him the work Hft does. In the beginning, Sam admittedly only saw support work as a temporary fix; he thought he could pick up work between tours and reap the benefits of being both a support worker and a touring musician.
Now though, he is set on a future in social care and thinks others should consider just how rewarding it can be.
He says, “I was previously so obsessed with music that I couldn’t see anything beyond it. But now I really love this job and getting to change people’s lives on daily basis is so incredibly rewarding. I get just as much out of it as the people we support do.
“Of course, it can be hard work but seeing the people we support respond to greater freedom and control is undoubtedly worth it. You’ll only truly understand how rewarding it can be if you do it yourself.
“To all those young people who don’t really know what they want to do – I get it. But if you’re good with people and want to do something that really makes a difference, support work might be an option for you. I would definitely recommend it. It’s a great thing to do.”
If you are interested in finding out more about a career supporting people with learning disabilities to lead the best life possible, visit hft.org.uk/jobs.
Notes to editors
Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – 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.
Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.
For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk