Stewart is a Support Worker in Grace Eyre Choices, working in the Northern sector of West Sussex.


Tell me about your role and your typical day

I only work one day per week for Grace Eyre. I support two service users who live in Crawley. One lives on his own and has myself and another support worker supporting him several times per week. The other lives at home with his family and just receives support from me once per week. My work involves helping both service users to reach their maximum potential, encouraging, prompting and supporting them in practical daily living tasks and also in developing healthy lifestyles. This includes taking regular exercise such as walking, and engaging in social and leisure activities. It also involves supporting attendance at medical appointments where necessary.

It's great working with these two people. I enjoy the interaction and communication, and share the love of music that both of them have. Although I work on my own in the community, I am part of a great team of people working across northern West Sussex, and of course it's a team effort in providing safe, comprehensive support.


What did you do before this?

My main career for 30 years was as a mental health nurse working in day services in a variety of London boroughs. I retired at the age of 55 after being made redundant when the service I worked in was closed down. In addition to Grace Eyre, I also continue to run a Walking Group for people with mental health problems in South West London once per week on a voluntary basis. At various times of the year I also do some exam invigilating at a 6th form college in Horsham, often supporting students with particular learning needs. So as you can see, I get a great deal of fulfilment in working with people who need support in various ways.


What qualities do you need for this job?

Most of all you need excellent communication skills, lots of patience, and a great sense of humour. A common sense, practical approach is really essential too, plus the ability to work and communicate within a team. If you have the right personality for this kind of work it is hugely rewarding, as you build and develop relationships with some fantastic people, and see them achieving and excelling in all kinds of activities.