Lucy joined Affinity Trust in 2008. She now manages a team of 24 staff supporting people with learning disabilities in Silsoe in rural Bedfordshire.
What did you do before joining Affinity Trust?
As an 18-year-old school leaver I joined the NHS as a student nurse at Leavesden Hospital in Bedfordshire (a mental health facility, now closed). I then worked as a qualified nurse in a secure unit in Buckinghamshire before moving back to Bedfordshire as a deputy manager. Six months later, I was promoted to manager.
What led you to join Affinity Trust?
I was working as a nurse at Bedfordshire NHS Trust when they decided to allow different companies to run services. Affinity Trust, which was then called TACT (Thames and Chiltern Trust), won the contract, and I was transferred under TUPE.
Every service I’ve worked in I’ve enjoyed, from children’s services to secure units. I love it all.
What does your role involve?
Building rapport with the families of people we support is really important. Day-to-day, much of my time is spent training and coaching people to do the job and do it well.
I also need to make sure our Covid-19 procedures are adhered to and that our staff are aware of any changes. And support plans, paperwork and one-to-ones take up most of the rest of my time.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the interaction with the people we support – the opportunity to have a chat and see how it’s going. Seeing people prosper and thrive, it’s so lovely. Affinity Trust is a very person-centred organisation.
I have a lovely team. Some of my team have been with us since we started working in Silsoe in 2008.
How has the pandemic affected your work?
In the first lockdown we made lots of puddings and cakes – little things that kept people going. We supported people with activities like gardening, drives and walks, things that kept them safe. At the moment, relatives of the people we support can visit them, but only outside, so we also arrange video calls.
But things are changing – only last week one of the people we support was talking about having a holiday this year.
What challenges do you face?
The house where the people we support live is in the countryside and hard to get to for some of our staff. There is no bus service on Sundays of bank holidays.
What is working at Affinity Trust like?
I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve had a great experience. I’ve been to various localities, been to conferences and training, and loved meeting other colleagues.
Everyone’s an open book. I can speak to all the senior managers, people are very open and friendly. And the courses are very good.
I enjoy my job. If I had my time again, I’d do it all again.