Simon Moore – catering to social care
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 Simon Moore who previously worked in catering and is now Registered Domicliary Manager for the Regard Group
Highlights of Simon Moore’s 25 years as a chef included a year living and working in France, cooking for royalty at London’s prestigious Guild Hall, and being the chef at a golf club and at a hotel in rural Wales.
But having entered catering straight from college, when middle-age loomed Simon decided it was time for something completely different.
“I was a long way off retirement,” he said, “and I wanted a change, an occupation that would provide a real contrast to the catering environment, and preferably a role that would enable me to ‘give something back.’
“I’d never worked in social care, but I knew a bit about it because my parents fostered children who – back in the ‘70’s – were labelled ‘hard to place,’ and I’d helped them with several youngsters who’d had a very difficult start in life.
“This had left me with a deep-rooted desire to help people reach their potential, so it was a natural step to study for a diploma in health and social care.”
When he graduated, Simon joined Cerrig Cornel – a supported living service run by the Regard Group – as a part-time relief staff member. And gradually he worked his way through the ranks until in 2015, after seven years of service, he became the registered domiciliary service manager.
Cerrig Cornel provides supported living for adults with learning disabilities, autism, mental health and substance misuse issues, and complex challenging behaviours, with each individual having their own self-contained unit within a converted farm house.
Simon is also responsible for the OWL Centre (short for Outcomes With Learning) – a day-care service providing bespoke support for 16 individuals.
The first of its kind in Wales, the OWL Centre offers tailor-made packages – including arts and crafts, animal husbandry, horticulture, sensory experiences, relaxation, music, woodwork, home economics, IT, education, social skill development and lifelong learning – at a level appropriate to meet each individual’s assessed needs.
Simon said: “What I love is that the work we do makes a tangible difference to the lives of those we support, and I get such a sense of achievement when I see people reach their personal goals and know I have been part of it.”
His achievements received independent recognition in 2018 from the judges of the Wales Care Awards when Simon was awarded Bronze in the category of Leadership and Management in Support Living or Small Group Community Living.
But he is quick to acknowledge the contributions of his team, as well as the ongoing support of Regard.
“I wasn’t surprised when we recently had our Gold level Investors in People accreditation renewed,” he said. “Apparently loads of my colleagues in services all across the UK told the inspectors how much they love their work.
“And Regard was praised by inspectors for providing a wide range of training to help staff develop in and outside their role. They invest in us, and they reap the reward.”
That report also described how Regard prides itself on providing roles that are interesting, challenging, and offer development and potential for growth.
Simon recommends care as a second career mainly because it is such a genuinely rewarding job and adds that ageism is less of an issue in this sector than elsewhere.
“Your life experience is valued,” he said. “No matter what kind of work you’ve done previously there will be some way for the knowledge and skills you’ve accumulated to be translated in a way that’s useful for the people you support.
“Why settle for something you don’t find rewarding, when there are more fulfilling alternatives available?”
Further information on careers at Regard is available at www.regard.co.uk/careers