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What it’s like to work in social care

by David, Practice Manager in Adult Social Care who manages a team of social workers and social care assessors in Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Community Care team

I’m passionate and positive about my work as part of the Council’s adult social care team. It is so rewarding to be able to support people to achieve their goals. I also have great colleagues and there is a very supportive manager/senior manager team who offer advice, mentoring and guidance, when needed.

My team works with adults aged over 18 that have needs that are recognised by the Care Act. This might be an 18-year-old with physical disabilities or a 99-year-old adult living with dementia, so what people need from us varies greatly. Our role is to help each person achieve their goals in life that they want to, promote their positive physical and mental health and to support them to lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

As a member of the adult social care team, you could be supporting people from all kinds of different backgrounds and with different needs. For example, they might be living with a brain injury, or be dealing with mental health or not taking care of themselves. We don’t work alone, as lots of people are involved in caring, such as colleagues across the Council, professionals from NHS and the families themselves. The approach is always consistent though – we place the person at the centre of all the discussions and care that is provided, working in a person-centred, solution focused way.

We make a difference to the lives of those we serve by offering packages of support, and ways of promoting independence at home, such as assistive technology. We may also support people to access extra care housing, supported living or residential care.

At Cheshire West and Chester, we take a creative approach to our social work practice and are one of few local authorities using Strength Based Assessments as our way of assessing needs under the Care Act. For example, at the moment we are putting together winter warmer packs for vulnerable residents and are looking at unique ways to try to resolve people’s personal pressures this winter.

Yes, social work can be challenging, particularly with times of austerity, increased challenges and with our most vulnerable people experiencing real inequality.But it’s so rewarding.We focus on what people can do, not what they can’t. Using that as a starting point, we can change people’s lives for the better and we see, first hand, people transforming under our and our partners care to reach their objectives, aspirations and wellbeing outcomes.

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