Move to UK re-ignites Jimmy’s passion to care
Each month we feature an Award-Winning finalist; inspirational individual or team who are really are The Best of the Best in social care. This month we feature Jimmy Shah, Project Worker at Sanctuary Supported Living, who has recently moved to the UK from India and has quickly developed a passion to care.
Beginning a career in care isn’t something to be taken lightly, but for Indian-born Jimmy Shah, it has proven to be his true vocation.
Jimmy, a project worker at Sanctuary Supported Living’s High Worple Care Home in Harrow, – which provides residential care and support for adults with a range of learning disabilities – owned an ice cream business in India before arriving in the UK in early 2018.
The 43-year-old said: “Back home, I looked after my elderly grandparents, so I think that’s what sparked my passion for caring.
“When I arrived in this country I saw this role advertised, and thought it would really suit me.”
Jimmy started his career with Sanctuary Supported Living in May 2018, and straight away felt that he fitted in. He commented: “One of the biggest appeals about Sanctuary Supported Living for me was the diversity of the people they support.
“I found the fact that I can speak Gujarati really helped me to connect with many of the residents at High Worple, and I’ve been able to cook foods from different cultures too, which reminds them of their childhoods.”
Skills from owning his own business – such as customer service and organisation – have stood Jimmy in good stead for his new role, so much so that he now leads on medication compliance for the service. Jimmy explained: “I’m really proud that in less than two years, my management of the medication system has been adopted as best practice here at High Worple.
“In fact, I have led on staff training sessions at other Sanctuary Supported Living services nearby, to help with the organisation of their medication systems.”
The main focus of Jimmy’s role is to empower the residents in his care to live as independently as possible, whilst ensuring their safety and security. He stated: “When working with residents to develop care plans, my ultimate goal is always to support them to have control over their own life choices.
“I also think it’s really important for people with disabilities to play a part in their wider communities, so I have made links with the local community to support this – our residents really enjoyed attending Diwali and Navrati celebrations.”
For Jimmy, his proudest moments at work are when he’s able to support residents to make positive changes to their lives. “For one resident, the morning routine posed particular problems”, said Jimmy.
“It would take up most of the day, not leaving him much time for any activities, which was frustrating and distressing for him. I worked with him to put together a structured plan involving an earlier start, and he now takes part in some of the activities at the service, as well as getting out and about in the local community.
“This was a big step for him, and a huge achievement.”
And the bottom line for Jimmy is knowing that he’s supporting the residents to live their lives to their full potential. He said: “Every day, you’re helping someone and making their life a little bit easier. And knowing that I make a difference to their day provides a real sense of achievement that I think would be difficult to experience in any other role.
“I’ve built real relationships with our residents – I believe this personal connection is what makes this role so unique.”
Jimmy has just been shortlisted for the London regional finals of the Great British Care Awards in the category of Care Newcomer.
If Jimmy comes top in the category at the regional heats, he’ll go forward to the national finals, which will take place next year.