An Essex woman is celebrating two decades of supporting adults with learning disabilities to live the best life possible.
Nina Collier from Henham has worked at the Bishops Stortford service of national learning disability charity Hft for the past 20 years, making her one of the longest serving support workers at her service. After moving to the UK from the Philippines with her son Mark in 1991, she first crossed paths with the charity while working as a carer in a nursing home. Nina would often meet both the staff and the people they supported from Hft’s service in Ugley at a nearby garden centre where they helped out. Nina found them to be such a friendly group of people that she enquired about joining the team and has been happily working there ever since.
Nina says one of the best parts of her role is using her many creative skills to enrich the lives of the people she supports in Pear Tree Cottage by running classes in arts and crafts, flower arranging, jewellery making, and gardening.
Finding opportunities for people to take an active role in their local communities is also very important to Nina. This has included helping one lady whom Nina has supported from the very start of her career, to achieve her ambition of joining her local branch of the Women’s Institute. Nina supported her to go along to her first meeting eight years ago, and since then they have walked together to meetings in the village hall every month.
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Reflecting on her time as a support worker, Nina said:
“Being a support worker makes me feel fulfilled. I respect all residents, and encourage them to be independent and give the people I support dignity and choices. I love having the opportunity to help people, to be part of their lives and help them to achieve their aspirations. I have supported people on trips to Cornwall, Devon, Eastbourne, and Norfolk, to name a few. The best part is hearing them tell their friends all about their holidays when they get home. When I help people to achieve something, it makes me feel proud of them and proud of myself. “
Regional manager for Hft Hertfordshire and Essex, Adolf Kamusoko said Nina is an invaluable asset to the team: “Words cannot describe Nina’s value to the Pound Lane Team and the individuals we support, Nina’s bright personality, patience, her can do attitude, respect towards peers, the people she supports and the commitment to her role is an example for all staff. Herts and Essex are very lucky to have such a wonderful employee.”
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
Location: Hft Hertfordshire & Essex