The Life of a Support Worker at Enabling Adventures and Activities
My name is Laura Colley and I’m a Support Worker for Enabling Activities and Adventures based in Stafford, Staffordshire. We’re a small, developing organisation that provides care for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities. However, we are not your average day service, instead focusing more on providing more active, outdoor activities, such as cycling, sailing and climbing.
For me, it’s a role I’ve arrived at later on in my career having moved through various teaching positions and deciding that the world of education was no longer for me. Family life and job satisfaction had greater importance than it ever did before.
On a day-to-day basis I mainly work with an exceptional young lady who is steadily losing her vision amongst other health issues. For her, my main task is to ensure she is able to experience as fulfilling a life as possible. Rather than seeing her disability as a barrier, we work together to ensure she is able to continuously challenge herself by attempting to complete activities she would inevitably believe to be impossible and beyond her capabilities.
From starting out learning to climb, to being able to tie her own knots and managing to climb increasingly challenging walls with overhangs; to making her own peg loom and weaving blankets and finally leading her to being able to use knitting looms and producing hats, scarfs and gloves for her entire family. Over the time this young lady has been working with us we have helped to give her a sense of achievement and ultimately build her confidence. Recently we have moved on to using a sewing machine, saws, drills and electric screwdrivers – lots of equipment she had not accessed her entire life!
At Enabling Activities and Adventures we have access to our own allotment. I am certainly not what you would call ‘green-fingered’ as I often have the ability to kill off plants that should be impossible to destroy! Through my work I have learn’t how to set up an allotment, planting, weeding, growing and harvesting a number of different fruits and vegetables.
There is nothing better than using our kitchen at our base to cook using ingredients we have collectively worked hard to grow and nurture with our own two hands. It also goes to show that it is not only our customers that learn new skills and grow in confidence!
Getting Some Fresh Air
From Gardening to cycling! At Enabling Activities and Adventures we have a number of bicycles that we can use with our customers. There are electric upright bikes and these are often used by staff to tow trailers so that those who are unable to ride can still enjoy the views that the delightful Cannock Chase has to offer. Sometimes there is even the added fun of a splash through the water!! Other bicycles include 3-wheel recumbent bikes (including one that is electric) for those that can ride but feel they need the added stability of the extra wheel. Again, without this specialist equipment the people we work with would be unable to access the outside world in such a way.
Another activity we offer is sailing, making use of the resources at Gailey Lea. We have the use of Access boats, adapted Canadian canoes and the assistance of wonderful, supportive staff. Being able to get out on the water on a beautiful Summer’s day is so magical and enjoyable (especially if you also brought along a water pistol and wet sponges!!).
Being able to provide opportunities for individuals that they would otherwise be unable to access or believe they could achieve is hugely rewarding. To see a person grow as an individual and become so much more confident makes everything we do here at Enabling Activities worthwhile. We’re steadily growing and hoping to offer more people within the community these amazing opportunities to access activities that may not have been offered or deemed possible before. The focus is very much about leading a healthy, active lifestyle and challenging yourself to try new things. After all, nothing is impossible, it sometimes just needs a different approach.
So in this new year of 2019, what challenges would you set yourself? If you think its impossible, maybe try us here at Enabling Activities and Adventures and see if we can make it possible!