Candid series unveils everyday superheroes

Published: Tuesday 10 May 2022

This is a collage of images of home carers and a service user

A special series of View stories brought the lives, motivations and compassion of frontline community staff into sharp focus.

In a campaign to support ongoing recruitment for South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s Care at Home service, members of the public have been introduced to the ‘everyday heroes’ behind the uniform. 

“What has really resonated is the positive impact our home carers have on people’s lives every day - and how fulfilling working in social care can be,” said Soumen Sengutpa, Director of Health and Social Care in South Lanarkshire.

“This series has shone a light on the rich human tapestry, the passion and the characters of our Care at Home workforce.”

From a long-serving, effervescent retail executive and chatty taxi driver who made career shifts, a seasoned home carer of three decades who’s risen through the ranks, to a leisure worker who was drafted into the service during Covid – and stayed.  The series also featured a 94-year-old service user who describes the input of the Care at Home – along with support of other community health and social care professionals – as ‘life changing’. 

Mr Sengupta added: “I know from regular correspondence from our service users that very sentiment is typical; as is the good humour and professionalism our staff show.

“The staff featured in this series personify the spirit of the broader health and social care workforce and the magnificent contribution that is made to people’s lives, day in, day out.”

The Care at Home service provides essential support to enable people to live as independently as possible in their own homes, frequently working closely with other health and social care services.

The characters behind the uniforms . . .

Readers of the series met:

Home Carer Annmarie Doherty with her South Lanarkshire Council van.

  • Annmarie Doherty, who was prompted to assess her life following the advent of a big birthday. Annemarie had worked in retail for 22 years but, when she turned 50, she realised a new direction was needed – and said becoming a home carer was ‘the best decision I ever made’.

“I work in the Reablement Team, dealing with hospital discharges,” explained Annemarie. “It is hugely rewarding to be able to help people in a situation that in many cases they never thought they’d have to deal with and were not prepared for.”

Read the full story in the View.

Home carer Wendy Murray outside South Lanarkshire Council's Cambuslang Gate offices.

  • Now 54, Wendy Murray started as a home carer with South Lanarkshire Council when she was 18, following her mum’s example. Rising through the ranks, Wendy has served as a Team Leader and is able to bring the experience and understanding she has gained over the years to help others. When you are in direct contact with the person, you see instantly the difference you are making – it is such a meaningful job.”

            Read the full story in the View.

This image shows Home Carer Calum Hoey at work

  • Calum Hoey was a taxi driver when the pandemic hit and, at the age of 52, he found himself with no work. Successfully applying for a career in homes care. He said: “Just as with the taxi-driving, I love the people I meet. They are fascinating to talk to, but it is also wonderful to feel that you are making a difference to their lives. There are practical benefits now, as well, such as the fact that I am now in a pension scheme for the first time in my life, which was a big attraction to me.”

            Read the full story in the View.

Home Carer Jill Bell outside a service user's house

  • Jill Bell was working in a sports centre when the pandemic struck and lockdown forced the closure of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture’s facilities, with staff being redeployed to help where they were most needed. She’s never looked back: “In the longer term, I’d love to take the opportunities to further my career while staying in this field . . . In the meantime, though, I’m just so happy to be going out each day to do this job. Because you’re assisting people with tasks they struggle to do or can no longer manage themselves at all, the work you are doing puts life in perspective, and the constant gratitude you receive makes you feel like a superhero.

           Read the full story in the View.

Scott McNeil, Service Manager for the Registered Care at Home Services said: “The effort and commitment of our diverse workforce has been nothing short of superhuman throughout the pandemic.

“They continue to play a crucial role going forward as a vital part of our health and social care services. They are our superheroes.”

The service is recruiting now, and you can find out more from My Job Scotland

Medically, practically and emotionally I cannot thank them enough’

This image shows Jessie Turner, who has praised the care she has received, being given a cup of tea

When Jessie Turner was admitted to hospital last year having suffered a stroke, she feared she might not return to her Cambuslang home.

Having only just recovered from a hip operation, the still active 94-year-old was convinced that her much-prized independence was at risk.

However, thanks to South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s innovative Home First programme she has been able to recover and rehabilitate in the comfort and security of the house she’s lived in for decades.

The programme takes an integrated approach to supporting people in the community who might otherwise have experienced a lengthy stay in hospital and builds on a well-established spirit of partnership working between the key agencies involved in their care - including the Care at Home team.

“I don’t know where I would be without the carers who come in every day," said Jessie.

“I feel so fortunate. Thanks to Home First, my home carers, the hospital physiotherapists, and occupational health all worked together and planned things so that I could not only get back to my home but live well there.  

“Having this team of people in my life has made more difference than I could ever have imagined, medically, practically and emotionally and I cannot thank them enough.”

Read the full story in the View.