How tragedy led to job in learning disabilities

28th May 2015

Blog by Helga Matthews, Service Manager Maidenhead, FitzRoy Supported Living

From as young as I can remember I wanted to be a police officer. My mum wasn’t keen but I couldn’t stop dreaming about it. Then tragedy struck. I was 11 when my mum was killed in a road traffic accident. I went from being a child to an adult overnight, I said to my brother that day, we need to stick together as a family so we don’t fall apart. I stopped playing with toys to looking after my dad and my brother and when the time came to meet the school careers advisor I knew I couldn’t go against my mum’s wishes and choose the police force. I knew I had to choose a different path. It was this that led me to the world of social care.

I chose a place on a health and social care college course, but with little idea of what to expect. I enjoyed my first year but felt something was missing. It was during my second year working at a home for young children with learning disabilities that I knew I had found my place. I couldn’t stop talking about how much I loved working there. Before my placement had finished I had applied for a permanent post in the home, and 25 years later I still love working with people with learning disabilities. Working for FitzRoy now I oversee 4 locations, and am responsible for 23 people we support and a large staff team.

I love watching people reach their goals and seeing their joy as they learn to do things for themselves. Whether we are supporting people to travel, or cooking a meal, watching their independence grow is a joy. No day is the same no matter how much you try to plan ahead. You can’t just clock off at 5pm and forget all about it, but every day I am grateful I found the right career for me. The people I am privileged to work with have taught me so much. I know that care work is not for everyone and I’ll never be rich but I couldn’t buy the amazing things I’ve experienced over the years.