Darryl, Residential Child Care Worker
How long have you worked for Five Rivers?
I have only worked for Five Rivers for 3.5 months (August 2019)
There are many care companies in Somerset, what attracted you to Five Rivers?
The different approach to child care that Five Rivers takes; it’s more holistic and therapeutic. We work with a younger age group which allows us to get more positive and lasting results. We make a dramatic difference and turn children’s lives around. I was very lucky to join the company at a time when they were really changing the way they work, investing in a new approach to change the way we think and act when supporting vulnerable children. It has really has opened my eyes and rejuvenated me after working with children for a long time.
What training have you undertaken since joining the organisation?
I have done the new Proactive Approaches Training. It is the most amazing training; it totally changes the way you think about your role. Whether you have been a support worker for 12 months or 12 years, it will completely improve your knowledge and understanding of a child’s internal world. It will be a great asset for any new starters coming to work for Five Rivers. There is blended approach to training, with a mix of e-learning and face to face available during your induction. Further training is always available, all you have to do is request it from your manager and it will be arranged if appropriate. Five Rivers is keen to support staff fulfil their ambitions and if training is needed to do that then it will be given.
What is your role in the home?
I am a team leader at the orchard which is a varied and interesting role. It’s a very hands on role, supporting the children one minute, then attending management meetings the next . I never know what to expect every day which makes the role exciting and keeps you on your toes.
How would you describe the home?
An amazing house set in the countryside. It has very spacious gardens to play games in, with beautiful views of the countryside. The large rooms inside the house are all nicely decorated throughout. The bedrooms are a good size and, of course, the main hub of the house is the kitchen. An amazing place for any young child to grow and develop. It has a very warm, family atmosphere. As soon as you walk in you feel welcome; it’s great.
How would you describe the wider team?
As a team leader I work closely with both the leadership team and the residential support workers. The whole team are dedicated, enthusiastic, and they all go above and beyond what is expected to make the children’s lives better. The management team are all there as a result of internal support, training and supervision and have all been internally promoted. This means we all have experience of being support workers and therefore have a good understanding of the role and how challenging it can be at times. The leadership is team is very supportive of the support workers and committed to helping them achieve their goals through good mentoring, coaching, and supervisions. As a consequence, the team members are well trained, knowledgeable, welcoming and will always put the children first. The staff at the Orchard will always give 100% and it is a pleasure to be part of the team.
What shifts do you undertake & how does this impact on your home life?
We know the importance of striking a work life balance and try to give the staff a rest between shifts. We are currently trialling a new rolling rota which allows staff to see three months to six months ahead, which helps us all to plan and has big benefits for family and personal time. Life is never easy and the few times there is a shortfall in the rota we don’t mind covering the odd shift here and there because everyone is well rested and supported.
What advice would you give to anyone that may be interested in a role in residential child care?
Just do it! I struggle to think of a career that gives you as much satisfaction. Sure there are times when you will feel tired but at Five Rivers you will be trained and supported by colleagues and managers. It’s the only job I know where you could be eating popcorn in a cinema at 1.00pm, watching a good movie with the same person, who was sad hours earlier and needed your help.
Remember the children have the barriers, the adults break them down!!!