It’s not every day you get to interview a Lady, but I now have, and am pleased to report that although the people of Powys needn’t curtsey, they should be grateful to have her in their midst…
Lady Tracey Woodward has been a Domiciliary Home Care Manager Finalist for the Great British Care Awards, working for Affinity Care Services based in Newtown for the last 10 years, building it up to what is now 58 staff and 138 clients.
“I started there as a Senior and then my manager left. At the time we had only about 20 hours per week but now we’re one of the biggest providers, if not the biggest in Powys.”
“Because I put all my effort into making sure I have really good staff, a commitment to continuity and looking after them, plus having a laugh with them too. It’s important they feel valued. A good and happy team is very important to me. Supporting them is very important – there’s been a lot of mental health around, especially this year and last.”
I’ve often wondered about crossovers with care and counselling – they can’t help but bleed into one another, surely?
“Yes, that’s true. I have some clients suffering alongside staff going off with it. Supporting and being on the end of the phone talking with them is often the best form of medicine as meds are possibly not the best way forward. In fact, I have a client I meet once a week with mental health problems where at one point she was suicidal and now she’s in a much better place which is likely due to our talking in person or on the phone once or twice a day.”
It’ll be no surprise to read that for Tracey it can be a seven day week which means broad shoulders and commitment many of us would balk at. So why does she not only do it, but thrive on it?
“I do it because it’s in my nature to always want to make sure everyone’s happy and getting what they want. Basically if everyone’s happy, I am! And yes, my phone is on seven days per week because the buck stops with me. Powys is a vast area to run and there are a lot of rural areas here. In fact, I helped out in Presteigne a few weeks ago and it was a 100 mile round trip!”
So what does Lady Tracey enjoy most about her vocation?
“I like to see the compliments coming in about the carers and I like to see they’re happy with the rotas they get and that they come back in and communicate with me and will work with me if they’re not happy about something. I’m constantly reassuring people and talking with them about what we can do to make things better.”
And how does she think things could be better for social care in Wales which has generally been seen as more deprived?
“England always gets the better deal! There definitely needs to be more money in social care for us to pay carers a better wage, but I believe Wales is getting more money so things will be changing from April. At the end of the day, carers now have to be registered in Wales for home care which entails someone having to do a Diploma first which takes a lot of work and they pay for it, although the PCC has offered it back this year.”
And of course, you’re all dying to know whether the Lady is an inherited title? Well, no. A colleague bought it for Tracey as a Christmas present, but who cares! A noble job deserves a noble woman…
PS If any of my colleagues are reading this, my birthday is in November and Duchess Debra sounds just the ticket!
“Carers now have to be registered in Wales for home care which entails having to do a Diploma first.”
“A noble job deserves a noble womam.”