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Life & Times of Social David Simons

I have spent a large chunk of my working life within the health & social care sector and wanted to share with you some of the highlights of that.

Seeing some of the issues we went through with our son after diagnosis encouraged me to move into this field, all was then unknown to us as new parents.

I had been a bus driver and prior to that an undertaker for a while. Under some fancy government scheme I was able to attend college to do an NVQ level 2, was paid an additional £10 a week to start this course, which included a work placement.

I went to work for Scope, formerly known as the Spastics Society. I was placed in a residential unit where 9 young adults lived and supported in all aspects from personal care through to interests and holidays.

I went in with a preconceived idea of things and views, many of which I soon learnt were really not right. I was delighted to be helping support these young folk living a full and active life.

I admit being an older person, I struggled with the college side, just 1 day a week, I was the oldest in the class and I had long left behind the young attitude of getting drunk, who was seeing who and all that sort of thing.

I had a chat with the Tutor who agreed I could do an extra day at Scope instead of going into college as the place I was at had a NVQ Assessor in training, so I was an ideal candidate for her own studies, as well as gaining my own. I was much happier - an old married man with a son, I’ve seen a lot of life and experienced all sorts.

I thoroughly enjoyed my work and gaining a qualification along the way. I was keen to learn, would speak up and learnt so much about policies, procedures and why they existed. Ultimately I proved myself and was taken on full time.

Scope then won a contract to open a new respite service for adults. By then I had got my NVQ certificate and was looking at the next level up. I was offered the opportunity to become an NVQ Assessor. I accepted, alongside working full time, the 2 opportunities worked well together. New staff were given the chance to do NVQs, so many became my students.

I helped setting up the respite service, from the shop floor through to creating working documents and ensuring a high standard of service was offered to service users and families and writing care plans. I took on a lot of the administration work which meant a crash course in using Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

My typing skills improved very rapidly! The general Administrator supported me. I was fully involved writing and assessing care plans which were like a living document.

I would also facilitate holidays for people. Sometimes this could be a long weekend away in the UK or a week’s trip abroad. This brought me my 1st experience of flying and a foreign holiday!

I remember that trip to Malta fondly, though back then did find turbulence something I did not like!

I also spent time as a service co-ordinator at a small home in Oxfordshire where some young ladies lived.

It was a new challenge and went in with my usual gusto. I was 1 of 2 men in amongst a complete staff of ladies! That some would say was a challenge in itself!

I stayed there till the house sadly closed. Finances played a big part, residents were all moved to new houses that for each of them was closer to their own home towns and family, so a good ending in a way.

I now an Assessor and was given many training opportunities. I would train new staff; I did moving and handling training. Fire officer training, a grand title but basically ensuring extinguishers were in date, working, alarms worked and all knew the correct drill in event of a fire.

Services were changing. I decided to move into the NHS Learning Disabilities side.

I started thinking is it social work or nursing for me. I liked both ideas, sadly fate took a hand in things and I was in hospital for what was my second big spinal surgery. This put paid to my career sadly.

I spent wonderful years supporting super people living life to the max, achieving their own personal goals.

I was fortunate enough to see some new places too by being a support staff which took me to the Canary Islands and Gibraltar. But that 1st trip abroad will always be my favourite as it took me to new heights!

Life has moved on. My role now is a caring one, for my son, also for my wife in supporting her with home dialysis. I know a lot of what I learnt from my days with Scope and the NHS has helped me in how I do and deal with things.

I am so grateful for all that training in using a computer and typing up letters, documents and whatever else comes winging its way onto my desk!

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