I’m Yvonne Quinn. I’ve been working at McFarlane Trust since December 2021 as a Support Worker. After several years of working a job that I didn’t love, I decided it was time for a change. Fate brought me to McFarlane Trust and I’m happier than I’ve been in years.
Prior to starting with McFarlane Trust I’d been working as a team facilitator in East Renfrewshire for five years, managing seven different teams. My job was quite stressful and demanding, especially with the effects of the pandemic on staff attendance. I had to cover a lot of shift work as people were often calling in sick, which added to the already high stress levels.
“There must be more to life than this” – that’s the thought that rang through my head most mornings. I worked at an organisation previously that didn’t share the same beliefs or structure that I knew was possible in the care sector, and I found myself wondering if it was really the right thing for everyone under their care. I didn’t look forward to getting up for work. This only became more prevalent after I experienced a devastating loss. Sadly, both of my parents passed away in 2020 within a few weeks of each other. This was absolutely heartbreaking, and for the next year or so, everything was a bit of a blur. When I was able to think more clearly again, I started to think about how short and precious life is, and how important it is to do what makes you happy. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I am now working with McFarlane Trust.
I had previously done some support work, and I remembered having a skip in my step when going to work which I had since lost. I knew of someone years ago that had worked with McFarlane Trust and had spoken very positively of it. The job advert for a Support Worker crossed my path at a time when I was desperate for a change in my life. It almost felt like it was meant to be. I took a chance and applied, and I’m so glad I did!
I can now say I’m excited to come to work every day, and I see myself staying in this job and with McFarlane for a really long time. The recruitment process was unbelievably smooth, even in spite of the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. I had online training and shadow shifts to prepare me which was hugely beneficial. It was all at my own pace and I wasn’t pushed into going solo before I felt I was ready.
I was a little apprehensive going into the role, not because of the job itself but mainly because I really hoped the person I was working with would like me! I know how important it is to the person who is receiving support to feel comfortable with their support worker. I had absolutely nothing to worry about however, as I bonded with the woman I am supporting immediately.
I currently work with a 47-year-old woman, who lives in her own home from Monday to Friday and then with her mum on weekends. We’re quite close in age and I think that has helped us form an instant connection. I feel confident that with my previous skills and experience, there’s a lot I can bring to enrich her life and I definitely feel like she is doing the same for me. I’ve already spoken to other staff members about my many ideas for what we can do when restrictions open up further, and they too think the world is going to open up for her with our support.
Johnnybee Disco in Irvine in particular is something I’d love to take her to. She’s a big fan of music and dancing. She also does holiday’s with her mum, but I think it could be great for her to have a holiday with a support worker too. She loves swimming and the water, so I’d say a holiday place with a jacuzzi would be right up her street.
There is also the Include Me 2 Club in Barrhead, which is an incredible organisation that supports people of all ages who have additional support needs, learning, physical disability, or mental health conditions. On the last Thursday of the month, they host a ‘stay up late’ disco at The Garage nightclub which is tons of fun and would be perfect for the person I support.
In addition to this, I work at a house with four people in shared accommodation. Although I’ve not visited them very often so far, what impressed me about this setup is that McFarlane Trust supports shared accommodation and actively encourages this for people – if it’s what they want. I worked at an organisation previously that didn’t share this belief or structure and I found myself wondering if it was really the right thing for everyone under their care. From seeing how the four people living in this shared accommodation interact with each other, even though they are all individuals in their own right with their own rooms and hobbies and backgrounds, they love living together and are so involved in each other’s lives. It’s a healthy dynamic and I feel they are keeping each other going as flatmates and friends. You can see how people grow in confidence and happiness living with each other, in the same way as you might see someone living on their own having the same level of growth – it’s just a different path. McFarlane Trust really allows for that person-led support, which helps individuals flourish.
I can’t believe how much has changed for me in so little time. My husband and family have remarked that they’ve seen such a positive difference in my attitude since starting this new job with McFarlane Trust. I’m very excited about my career with McFarlane Trust and especially my relationships with the people I’m supporting now. It really makes a difference to see the benefit of the work you do every day. If others are considering applying for future roles at McFarlane Trust, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it!