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It’s Never too Late to Care

Jack Brown – Sports coach to care home activities leader

Each month we profile a care professional who has come into the sector after a career change and who demonstrates that it really is never too late to care! This month we feature Jack Brown who spent his early career as a sports coach and is now a care home activities leader at Sanctuary

Jack Brown is the activities leader at Sanctuary Care’s Dalby Court Residential Care Home in Middlesbrough.

It is a role he has carried out for more than 18 months and is one he relishes, organising a whole host of events for the home’s residents, including trips to local towns, cities, landmarks and even sports stadia.

Such has been Jack’s impact at Dalby Court, the 23-year-old was recently nominated for the care home newcomer award at the national Great British Care Awards, having previously triumphed at regional level.

“When I first started this job I never expected anything like an award, I just wanted to work hard and do well but to win that award and get to the national final was amazing,” he said.

Yet Jack began his career at the opposite end of the age spectrum after spending three years working as a sports coach for Durham County Council.

Upon turning 18 and completing an apprenticeship with the local authority, Jack, who studied sport at college, began delivering a huge variety of physical activities in junior, primary and secondary schools. This included football, cricket, rugby, volleyball and even dance.

Working in tandem across the county with a colleague, while also training two apprentices of his own, Jack coached children aged three to 17, inspiring them to be the best they could be.

Away from the day job, he also guided youth teams at nearby Wolsingham Football Club to league titles, leading to him being nominated for a regional coaching award.

Jack said: “If you’re a coach the biggest pride you can get is working with a child and seeing them grow and do really, really well. It is nice to offer support and help them grow technically and emotionally.”

But Jack wanted to turn his hand to something else and the position at Dalby Court, one of over 100 homes managed by Sanctuary Care, fitted the skills he had honed in putting on sports events for schools and clubs.

“I needed a new challenge and because I had organised festivals and events I applied for this,” he explained.

Jack has even managed to retain his links to the younger generation, inviting local nurseries and schools to Dalby Court to meet residents and take part in activities.

He commented: “I love working with kids and it’s nice to have them in the home but working with older people is even more rewarding. With the weekly trips, we are giving residents something to enjoy, an experience they may not get to do again and enriching their lives.

“We asked all the residents what their highlight of the year was and every resident said going on trips was the most fantastic thing and that was great to hear.

“I thought that was lovely and that makes it even more worthwhile when I hear that. It makes it extra special.”

Jack’s work at Dalby Court saw him put forward for the North East section of the Great British Care Awards in which he won the care home newcomer category to progress to the national finals.

“It was an absolutely brilliant night and I was really surprised to win,” he said. “One of our residents was so proud, I was nearly late for the ceremony because she was so determined to take my photograph as I was leaving!”

He continued: “I was gutted not to win at the nationals but the carer who won should be very proud of herself.”

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