The successful care of people living in supported services centres on ambition and dedication, says Alex Blyth the registered service manager at Praxis Care’s Warwickshire Supported Living Service. The ambition is to encourage those people to gain as much a sense of independence as is possible so that they are in control of as many choices as they can make and can pursue the goals they want to achieve. The dedication needed to achieve the ambition is, according to Alex, something which all Praxis Care staff renew every day.
“Everyone who works in social care knows the job requires not just skills and ability but also a warm heart, empathy and genuine interest in other people,” says Alex. “We do our best to support and keep our teams’ motivation and dedication at the highest levels and I feel very privileged to work with them in this service.”
Warwickshire Supported Living Service is a supported living service for adults located in Warwickshire which supports adults with complex mental ill health, learning disabilities and autism. It was started in response to the Transforming Care agenda that places individuals in community settings rather than in-patient care. The original four tenants who started with the service over three years ago have remained in the service, progressing in their independence and working towards their goals, a testament to Alex’s work and the potential for individuals to live supported in their own homes rather than institutional care.
The service places a strong emphasis on supporting its tenants to gain a sense of independence and this is something that is very important to Alex.
“The people we work alongside live as independent a life as possible,” says Alex. “We’re really just that little bit of guidance in helping them to achieve their own goals and their own outcomes, with us just going along on the ride with them. We’re giving them the confidence to take steps for themselves. They are definitely achieving things that they never thought would be achievable. It’s absolutely amazing to see and it’s amazing that Praxis are so supportive of that approach.”
Alex has worked for Praxis for three years and has been the registered manager in Warwickshire for eighteen months. Within his first year as manager, he was shortlisted for the Manager Award at The National Learning Disability and Autism Awards and the Mental Health Professional Award at The Mental Health and Wellbeing Awards UK. Out of nearly 2,000 staff, he was the winner of Praxis Care’s 2021 Pat Cassidy Award for “going above and beyond to achieve exceptional outcomes for the people we support”.
Alex mentioned one specific individual who uses the service, James, who he has seen benefit greatly from this approach to care.
“James has been here a few years now and he’s come an awful long way in that time. He was a very nervous, quiet guy; he kept himself to himself. He’s now working three separate jobs, volunteering at different places. He’s sort of a minor celebrity here. From the confidence we’ve given him, he’s become the man he is today. He’s completely changed his life and it’s incredible how he’s become a backbone of the community.”
Alex says: “Watching the people we support achieving their own goals is the greatest job satisfaction.”
“Praxis makes sure that the staff, myself included, have the support and the training that they need to work collaboratively and help people achieve the best that they can out of their lives.”