Last week one of our Aberlour Sycamore house teams were awarded the runner up prize in the Top Team category for the workforce awards at the annual industry acclaimed SIRCC Residential Child Care Awards. This is the second year in a row the team have received this recognition for all the hard work they and our young people do every day.
In celebration of the award win Adele Kay, Aberlour Senior Residential Worker, has written a blog sharing insights into everyday life at an Aberlour Sycamore House. She also emphasises the importance of telling our young people that they are loved and showing them, they can achieve exactly what they want in their lives.
Love Lives in Aberlour
I walked up the path of a house. My first relief shift, 16 years ago. I did ask ‘what did I let myself in for?’ I was met by staff who passed me keys to sit in the office and supervise residents. I was a creative, confident, young relief member of staff who has saw significant changes in the care system, such as being able to tell a child you love them, creating a family within the house and having the trust and autonomy to take the child you support away on trips which not only strengthen your relationship but help the child achieve their goals. Now I am a successful Senior Residential Worker. We are not staff. We are caring, supporting adults who can’t wait to give the children hugs and show love as well as banishing the word resident. The terminology has changed from care to love, support to therapeutic interventions, which itself comes with a hug as you say it.
I don’t just walk up to the path of the house, I normally briskly walk in. I am ready to go on a daily adventure of learning, challenges and the continuum of expressing what love is and helping the children to feel love in the house.
At Aberlour we not only look after our children in care but focus on developing brains that are thirsty to grow and flourish, to take the children on an adventure to understand what feelings are, restoring the effects of outbursts of difficult behaviour and unconditionally restoring the broken pieces of the plan that has not gone well that day. It would be magical to find that perfect advert to capture all of the ‘awesomeness’ of this job.
Coming to work and caring for the children in Aberlour is an art. One also goes on a journey alongside the experiences of the children and colleagues. As you become part of the Aberlour family, it underpins what care is all about. How being playful, accepting, empathic and curious becomes a way of life and really runs through the body of Aberlour.
The children and Aberlour values have kept me in the service for all of these years. The diamond moment is when the children who used to stay with us come back to visit to share magical memories, to share some unfortunate common feelings of loss and grief as well as how they are doing themselves. Without their Aberlour family, I am really unsure as to who they could turn to. I still get calls, ‘What on earth do I do, my kettle isn’t turning on?’ ‘Can you tell me how I can get a form for….?’, ‘Hey, how are you I am just home from the army, can we catch up?’, ‘Remember that time you dressed up and went fishing with me?’.
I do… And I still love you.
I love my job and I am proud to say this.
Aberlour Senior Residential Worker