I often reflect that working within social care is a real privilege.

We are chosen and entrusted to care for the members of a person’s family. We are invited and welcomed into people’s homes every day. The people we support trust us to help them through their most significant achievements and challenges. Unfortunately, the privilege of this can easily get lost in the day to day routines so its important that we all remind ourselves of this.  It is for this very reason that I have dedicated my career to social care.

Sometimes, things happen which remind us of how lucky we are to work alongside some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Yesterday, was one of those days!

We have been fortunate enough to make links with Miles Smith Insurance Group who coordinated a volunteer day. The plan, to work alongside the people we support at The Grange in developing elements of our sensory garden. Not only did we benefit from the time of a team of volunteers but also had a budget to spend on items.

We were joined by 9 volunteers from Miles Smith Insurance Group and The Underwriting Exchange. The team built 3 new raised beds which will eventually be used for fruit, vegetables and salad items, for now they have been filled with bulbs to give some colour to the gardens in January. The team also put together a new solar water feature, solar lights and wind spinners which all provide new sensory experiences. Last but by no means least, there was a huge amount of weeding and tidying within the main area of the garden used by individuals.

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Watching the interaction between the people we support, and volunteers is humbling. People were welcomed with kindness and the people we support were genuinely grateful for all the efforts of the volunteers to help them. The volunteers quickly built a rapport with the individuals, they chatted freely and worked together, even getting people engaged in tasks that they’d normally refuse to do……who wants to do weeding?!

I took a step back and reflected that this interaction, that was new to many of the volunteers is in fact my every day. Also, sometimes the reason that I’m less productive than I’d like but, productive in a different way. Helping to guide people through the ups and downs of relationships and life!

Days like this stretch much further than the achievements of building a raised flower bed or clearing a path of weeds. It provides the people we support with interactions with new people, who have different experiences and different reasons for being with them. It raises the profile of the amazing contribution that people with disabilities can make within our communities. It lifts the spirits of our teams and the people that we support when so much is achieved.

Thank you so much to Miles Smith Insurance Group and The Underwriting Exchange for giving us your time to enrich the lives of the people we support.

By Sarah Edwards, Chief Executive