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 Louise Payne, a support worker at Dimensions.
“A shining example of pure dedication, going above and beyond for the people she supports.” These were the words used by one judge to describe Louise, Home Care Newcomer for the South West region.
Louise joined Dimensions, a national not-for-profit support provider, as a support worker a year ago, at a critical point in her life. “I’d worked in retail, factories and a call centre, but had a run of bad experiences, including a redundancy. I felt useless and unwanted in the workplace.”
She was initially worried that support work would involve unsociable hours that would mean a change for her family life, “I spoke with my boyfriend, he was very supportive and said “Go for it!” So I took a deep breath and applied online.
“At the interview I was really nervous because I didn’t have any experience, but I used my common sense to answer the questions how I would want to be treated.”
Louise’s common sense worked as she was offered the job. With excitement and some trepidation she started, “My first position didn’t pan out. Support work is really person centred and the gentleman and I weren’t a good fit. To be honest he needed someone younger. I thought “here I go again, another job that didn’t work out” – but I was delighted when Dimensions found me another position.”
Louise started to support a brother and sister, as part of a team of three, “The other ladies, a Mum and daughter, have so much experience, I learned so much from them they were really helpful.” This, along with her Dimensions training (she is working towards her NVQ health care level 2), boosted her confidence and she soon settled in to the role.
“Initially I thought that I was helping by doing everything for them: I made their beds and their drinks. Then I realised the job was about support and not just care and now I see the pride they get when they learn a new skill, like making a hot drink, and it fills me with joy.”
The siblings that Louise supports don’t communicate with words so she started to learn Makaton, “I wanted to be able to communicate with them so I began to watch YouTube videos. Soon we were learning together, they are definitely picking it up much faster than I am!”
Louise is about the start an eight week communication partner program, “I want to become fluent so I can communicate with everyone.
“I love my job, some days I’m absolutely shattered and it’s really hard, but the positives outweigh all of that.”
The people she supports clearly think the world of her, “One day we were doing a puzzle and having a laugh when the gentleman said “I love you” it was so spontaneous and just the best moment.
“I was really so surprised to be nominated for the Great British Care Awards Home Care Newcomer. And I was utterly stunned to win the South West region, it was the icing on the cake!
“My boyfriend is so proud of me, my friends have noticed how happy I am and think I’m clearly made for this. My confidence is so much improved. I’ve found a place where I’m useful, wanted and valued.”