Sheila Wood, Support Worker, Stafford Avenue

Sheila Wood has worked for Choices for 19 years. As she nears two decades of caring for people with learning disabilities and challenging behavior, she took a moment to tell us why she thinks her job is special and a privilege.

“I can’t imagine doing anything else. Yes, we all need to earn money , but it’s more than that, we do this because we love it. At Stafford Avenue we look after five men with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours, you become so close to them, that you are lucky enough to become part of their family.

Every single day, you see the difference you’ve made to their lives.  Working with the men we care for here, with their needs, you are able to give a level of care for people, where it’s one on one, spending so much time together, helping them with almost everything – they feel like family. I’m a mum, with two grown up sons and looking after our men here, it brings out lots of the same emotions – I want the best for them, I can’t imagine not having them in my life and they rely on me. When you come to work, whatever problems you have, you leave at the door

The men we care for are amazing and they have such incredible personalities, all of them. We’re lucky, because we get to see them almost everyday and spend so much time with them, that it becomes like a sixth sense, the way that you understand them, sometimes with just a look, something they do with their eyes or smile. The react to you and you react to them.

The other day, I said to one of our men, ‘you’re gorgeous you are!’ and Derek whose sitting next to him and doesn’t say very much, says, ‘am I gorgeous?’ I said, ‘of course you are, you’re gorgeous too!’. And to see Derek’s face light up – that’s why we do this job. Those moments happen every day.

We are all here to care and the team are great, because we all bring something different, so we compliment each other. We are such a tight knit bunch and we all look out for each other and the men who we care for.

When I’m looking after someone, I just think, I hope someone would look after me the same – I do something for one of our men and I think, that’s how I’d want to be looked after.

The job teaches you so much. It makes you think about the simple things and the value and joy in life. It makes you really positive as a person and I think everyone who works for Choices is the same.


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