Meet Elle - Community Support Worker
Fun fact about yourself?
I worked in Leicester's LGBTQ+ bars as a Team Leader before coming to work for LCC! I sing and play guitar and perform at local bars and clubs as a solo artist, in my spare time.
What is your role within social care?
I am a Community Support Worker within an Older Adults Team.
What are the main responsibilities of your role?
I complete assessments and arrange support for older people. Whether it be care packages to promote people's independence and enable them to live safely in their own homes; or arrange residential/nursing care for those who need it, when they can no longer safely live at home. I also arrange support for those being discharged from hospital.
What inspired you to start a career in the care sector?
I wanted a career change from my previous job in the hospitality/nightlife sector, so I applied to be an admin assistant within the Adult Social Care department. I'll be honest, I didn't really know what Adult Social Care did, when I applied for the job! After working in various administration roles for a couple of years, and seeing the great work that the social care teams did with the people of Leicestershire, I wanted to work in a front line social care team myself, so I applied to be a Community Support Worker, and have never looked back!
Describe 3 of the best things about working in adult social care.
- No two days are the same! We are constantly facing new challenges and finding new ways to best support people.
- The brilliant support from colleagues, and management
- The opportunity for on-the-job training, and opportunities for career progression
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community face many challenges throughout their lives. How do you feel a career in social care could help to overcome these?
I have experienced nothing but support from my colleagues and managers, regarding my sexuality. I have always felt accepted and have never felt the need to hide who I am in the workplace. In my experience, those who work within the social care environment are open minded and non-judgemental, so we can be our true, authentic selves.
What would you say to a someone identifying as LGBTQIA+ considering a career in the care sector, but who may feel hesitant to apply? What encouragement would you offer?
I would say, go for it! In my experience the people I've met working within social care have all been open minded, non-judgemental and accepting of others. We support people from all walks of life in this sector, so I feel it's important to have staff members from all walks of life too. I personally think that going through challenges in our personal lives, can help us understand and empathise with the people we support, who are often going through challenges themselves.
The LGBTQIA+ community is under-represented in our sector. Why do you think this could be? Do you think there are any misconceptions of careers in social care that we need to overcome?
I am not overly sure why this would be, I don't feel LGBTQIA+ people are under-represented in the department I work for. At LCC we have an LGBTQ+ Staff network, and within my department there are visible LGBTQ+ role models in various roles. We have also had webinar sessions recently that all LCC staff members could join if they wished, to raise awareness regarding Trans/Non-binary folk, which I found really useful and think it is very important to raise awareness to the wider staff network.
I think the LGBTQ+ community may be under-represented in the "hands on" care sector (i.e. domiciliary care), potentially due to misconceptions around the older generation not being so LGBTQ+ friendly?
It is difficult, as the older generations we support grew up in a time where being gay/lesbian was illegal in this country. I personally have never received any homophobic abuse from the people I support, however I do not talk about my sexuality with the people I support as this isn't appropriate in my role. I believe as time goes on, attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community do seem to be improving.
What has been your career path to the position you are in now?
Years In Role
Admin Team Leader
2015 – 2016
2016 - 2017
Community Support Worker
2017 – now
How will you be celebrating pride this year?
Sadly I won't be able to make Leicester Pride due to being away on holiday, I will however be celebrating at Birmingham Pride at the end of September! We will be marching with the procession then celebrating in the village!