Debbie joined Affinity Trust in 2013 as Operations Manager for our South Division. She is now our Service Implementation Manager. This entails supporting the business in setting up new services and continually striving for continuous improvement.
In 2020, Debbie won a Best Employee award for her role in setting up a new service for Gavin, who was moving from a secure hospital to a home of his own. Gavin has complex needs and can become very anxious; he wouldn’t have engaged with the move if the process didn’t meet his needs.
The nomination recognised Debbie’s role in ensuring that both Gavin and his mum were involved throughout the transition. Gavin helped recruit his own support team through Skype, while his mum was involved in training that team, due to Gavin having a rare condition. Gavin is now living in his own home in Buckingham.
How did you feel when you heard you’d got the award?
I was taken aback to see my name on the list of nominees and to then hear I had won the award. I am so very honoured and would like to say thank you for the lovely comments in the nomination. It was such a joy to support Gavin with his transition to move into his new home and I wish him all the best.
Did you always want to work in social care?
My parents and grandparents all worked in NHS hospitals, and so this was something I aspired to do too.
After school, I first started out in a youth training scheme. My first role was as a receptionist in a computer company, after which I moved around the organisation in numerous roles.
I never felt satisfied in those roles and didn’t get that rewarding feeling of making a difference when I went home, so I decided to leave. This was when I took my first steps into health and social care, as an agency worker supporting people with learning disabilities in many different settings.
During my year at this agency I realised this was what I wanted to do and that I really felt I had an opportunity to make someone’s life even better. This was when I applied to be a Support Worker, and was then able to progress over nine years into the role of a Support Manager.
Who or what has helped you progress at Affinity Trust?
The role of Operations Manager is fast-moving and every day is different. You need to be able to manage your time effectively, crisis manage and always be striving to improve the quality of someone’s life.
I do feel that over the years I have been continually developing my skills and my knowledge. Receiving constructive feedback has been essential and has also enabled me to reflect and adapt my working style.
I also became an in-house PROACT-SCIPr instructor in 2015. This has given me a great opportunity to meet so many staff through training. I love hearing all the amazing achievements people are making and it’s rewarding as an instructor to hear how the training has supported the staff team to make a difference to people they are supporting.
I’m grateful to my managers for believing in me and investing time to mentor and coach me. I do feel this has given me the confidence to develop further.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I never really stuck to one thing that I wanted to be. It was a multitude of things which I dreamt of – these included being Wonder Woman, a pop star, a nurse and an air hostess!