My career in care

Ami Higgins has worked at Acorn Court for 13 years, during that time she has gone from teenage volunteer to an award-winning member of management. Here she shares her inspirational story.

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“I started working at Acorn Court as a volunteer when I was 15 years old. I didn’t do very well in school and left without any GCSE’s at just 14. I really struggled academically and never really felt like I belonged.  Acorn Court truly changed my life and the residents helped me find myself and gave me a real purpose.

As soon as I was old enough I decided to train to become a carer. I absolutely loved it; it was like I had finally found my niche, something I was born to do!

My mum had always worked within the care industry and from a very young age she would take me on her home visits to see her clients, I have so many fond memories from my childhood of these times, they were so special to me and they still stick with me to this day. I saw firsthand hand the love, care and compassion she showed to others and the difference she made to all the lives she touched, I remember thinking to myself ‘one day I want to be just like you’. She was and still is my biggest inspiration.

I believe you don’t have to have experience to be a carer, if you care, it’s there. It’s something you’re born with!

I made the move from care to lifestyles back in 2011, I really wanted to make a difference our resident’s social well-being so made it my mission to find out more about all our residents and incorporate that into their everyday lives and create more meaningful moments.

Back in February last year I was promoted to Care Services Manager where I now look after the reception team, lifestyle, kitchen, laundry, housekeeping, and maintenance. These are all so integral to making Acorn Court the special place that it is and it’s a joy to work with every single one of them.

Acorn Court has supported me in so many ways over the last 13 years and supported me by developing my skills as a carer and by putting me through my Health and Social Care Management level 2 and level 5 which I am currently working towards. I am so grateful for all the opportunities they have given me and for all the love and support they have shown me over the years. I feel so incredibly blessed to work for such a wonderful organisation that truly recognise their team and assist them to progress within their roles. I am so lucky to have so many inspiring individuals and mentors surrounding me within my role, especially to both Noelia and June for giving me this opportunity and seeing something special in me.

Within my new role, I am continuously looking for new ways to better our service with the residents being at the centre of everything we do. One of my proudest moments was when I won a national award for Care Innovation by creating our ‘Little Acorns’ programme and welcoming over 100 young children and their families from the local community into our home and holding weekly intergenerational music and movement sessions. We developed a programme with our own songs and the response was just amazing! We had some residents who couldn’t stand unassisted and suddenly get up and play with the children, as though they’d never had any issues! One lady who had never spoken more than one word in five years and one day she turned to me and said, “what a beautiful baby!” It was so special and it still brings a tear to my eye.

To anyone thinking of trying a career in care, I say go for it! Don’t be nervous, the benefits are far greater than any worries that you may have. It’s so rewarding on so many levels. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain! For me, there’s no better feeling than giving back to others. I get so much satisfaction from helping our residents, being there for our families during their most difficult decisions and empowering our team members to achieve great outcomes for the residents within our care. As for what’s next, I want to remain at Acorn Court for as long as I am able, to continue to develop our service and to progress further within my carer in care.”

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