Why do people become a Personal Assistant in Care and what does the job mean to them?
Hear from PAs
“I’ve been working in care for 9 years and am now a senior carer. You’re finding out what the individual enjoys, looking to develop their skills and keep them safe…. horse riding, walking, cooking, swimming, arts and crafts. You’re seeing their happiness and you know you had a part in that.”
Video - Skills for Care
Chris Hamnett from Wigan
Chris has worked as a PA for 15 years after being asked by someone he met on an adventure holiday. While he loves having fun with the people he supports, he says empowering them to volunteer or work, is so rewarding. As well as the benefits being a PA brings to his employers, Chris is clear of the positive impact it’s had on his life: “My first time working for Daniel was at the same time I should have been at my school ‘prom’ which I was not allowed to attend because of poor behaviour. On leaving school I was unsure where to go or what to do, the role of a PA gave me a career path. As I write this, I have just completed my Masters in Business and manage a charity in Wigan, I firmly believe that my trajectory would have been completely different without the skills I picked up being a PA.”
Mary Heywood from Bury
Mary shares her favourite memories of being a Personal Assistant in Care for children with additional support needs, and how she came to be in a career that is “certainly never dull, always keeps you on your toes, and is so worthwhile and enjoyable”. “In my time working as a PA I have been on a motor boat, swimming, walking, to the cinema and had some fantastic days out at the seaside. However, I have learnt that it is sometimes the simple things that make memories. One that sticks with me is being blown off our feet on the beach when we initially wanted to visit the Tower at Blackpool but it was far too busy to get the wheel chair through and too noisy for my little friend.”
Megg Ashwell from Ramsbottom
Megg explains why she loves being a PA for young disabled people. “The best part of being a PA is watching these young people blossom in new environments, find little bits of independence where they can, and of course, the laughter and smiles. What all the people I support have in common is that we do what they want to do.”
Jack Quarmby from Oldham
Jack Quarmby, 37, from Oldham has been known as ‘Jack as all trades’ in his working life so far, but has found something he really enjoys in his role as a PA for local young people.
He says: “Just being there makes a big difference to someone else’s life. Just by being yourself and helping someone else you can help someone to make changes within their life to move on and enjoy it and live it without feeling they are being left behind. We’re helping people be a part of life - even if just one doing ‘normal’ things that the rest of us take for granted.”
Hayley Broxup and Gareth Welford from Oldham
Gareth has had the support of his Personal Assistant (PA), Hayley, for 10 years. She’s been by his side at his college courses, volunteering and gives him the confidence to get what he wants out of life.
Gareth says “Having Hayley as a PA gives me confidence, and the ability to try different things – including things having autism makes difficult for me. I try to be a good boss by listening and understanding her issues”
From Hayley’s perspective: “Being a PA is about supporting someone to have a good life, and helping them to do things that they’d struggle to do on their own. Its about facing issues and barriers with someone. Over time you can look back and see how you’ve helped them achieve more than they thought they were capable of. My advice to anyone thinking of being a PA is to give it a try – there are so many people out there who need support - every day is different, its not like groundhog day, you can get to be out and about, and the job can fit well into your life.”
Hear from Employers
What difference do PAs make to the lives of the people they support?
Joanne Barrow from Wigan
Joanne is the parent to three adult children. Her youngest son Tom has the support of Personal Assistants in Care. Joanne explains the difference Personal Assistants in Care have made to her family. “Tom is a 24-year-old young man, he has an amazing sense of humour and loves a bit of banter. He is obsessed with premier league football and watches Wigan Athletic. He also happens to have a number of significant physical disabilities as a result of a genetic disorder. He has a tracheotomy, is peg fed, is on ventilation at night and is a wheelchair user. His medical condition doesn’t stop him from living a full and happy life. PAs keep Tom healthy and safe, be part of his community by volunteering, to follow his interests and be kept busy. Tom couldn’t be as independent as he is if he didn’t have their support.”
Michelle’s brother was assaulted leaving him with many complex health needs and severe brain damage. Michelle shares how a team of Personal Assistants have helped support Mark to live a different but happy and healthy future: “Mark went from existing to having a future. A guy who was told he would stay in bed all day now has his own home and is working to develop his own business. He needs good support to achieve and maintain this life but he is happy and has lots to look forward to.”
Sebastian Bianco Lynn from Bury
Sebastian is 33 years old and receives a social care personal budget. He says: “My Personal Assistant helps me live as independent a life as possible, doing the things I enjoy. Without a PA I would struggle to live the life I want, doing the things that stretch me mentally and physically. With my PA by my side, I have been able to help others learn from my experiences by advocating for disabled people’s rights. I have worked with the voluntary sector and health and social care system to represent the viewpoints of fellow disabled people.”
Video - Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP)