Six men of varying ages in football kit posing in front of a football goal.

Career journey

Tommy's working life began with a career as a professional footballer, playing for Leicester City, Grimsby Town and Birmingham City. After retiring from the sport, Tommy trained as a police officer and spent the next chapter of his career journey working on community projects aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour amongst young people.

On retiring from the police service, Tommy began to search for a new career challenge. He learnt about care roles through a friend who was working as a support worker at a day service. Tommy visited the service and started to do some casual hours. Tommy's background in the police and sports coaching meant that he had the perfect set of skills for the role and was quickly taken on as a fulltime member of support staff.

I've been able to apply my sporting skills to support people to improve their health, confidence and wellbeing.

Tommy

Tommy now works for Support & Connections, a day service in Melton Mowbray, as a senior support worker. Tommy's main role has been to expand the range of sports opportunities available to service users.

Since joining the team in 2013, Tommy has established an inclusive football team, tennis sessions, multi-sports sessions, cycling and golf. Tommy has recently coached a group of service users through a FA coaching qualifications and a Sports Leadership Award.

Day in the life of a senior support worker

The service that Tommy works for runs a weekly timetable of activities. Tommy's daily schedules usually include a mixture of leading group sessions and working with individual service users to support them with learning new skills and participating in fulfilling activities.

On a Thursday, Tommy leads a gardening enterprise session in the morning. During the session, the group maintain the gardens at Northfields Tennis Club in Syston. Each service user earns money for the work they do as part of the enterprise. After this session, the group have lunch and Tommy supports the group with tasks such as preparing food, personal care and deciding which activity to do in the afternoon session.

On a Thursday afternoon, Tommy runs a training session for the Syston Town Juniors inclusive football club. The team is made up of adults with a range of physical and learning disabilities. They compete in tournaments as part of the Leicestershire Inclusive Football League. Tommy's role in these sessions is to empower each individual to learn new skills, gain confidence and get maximum enjoyment out of taking part.

We have a wide range of abilities so I have to be flexible when I am planning sessions.

Tommy

On two days a week, Tommy works 1:1 with a young man who has autism and complex needs. Tommy supports him to do activities such as sport, swimming, cycling, gardening and woodwork. This role requires an immense amount of patience and flexibility as Tommy must respond to the person's changing mood and needs. This can often mean changing activity plans at the last minute.

At the end of the day, Tommy helps people to get buses and taxis to travel home. He then works with the rest of the team to ensure that the facilities are clean. Tommy also completes record logs for the day's activities and records any issues that occurred during his sessions.

To be a support worker, you've got to be approachable, a good listener and very enthusiastic.

Tommy

2013 - present

Senior support worker - Support & Connections, a community life choices service for adults with disabilities

2013

Support worker - day service for adults with learning disabilities

2013

School mentor - sports coaching and mentoring young people with behavioural difficulties

1990 - 2013

Police officer - community based

1988 - 1990

Footballer - Grimsby Town Football Club

1986 - 1988

Footballer - Birmingham City Football Club

1974 - 1986

Footballer - Leicester City Football Club

1974

Left school with O levels

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