The latest in our window into our service blog series features Livability John Grooms Court. Staff here recently won the team category at Livability’s Staff Recognition Awards – Enabling Support Worker Janine takes us round this vibrant service.
Tell us about John Grooms Court and who lives there …
We’re a residential care home in Norwich, a short bus trip away from the city centre. We’ve also got woods just around the corner so people here get the best of both worlds. We’re home for up to 27 adults, with disabilities including cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and autism. Ages range from 30-somethings up to 70s. Three new residents have joined us recently.
What do you do to make transition easier for new arrivals?
If at all possible, we phase someone in by first inviting them for dinner or tea, so they can meet the other residents. We make them a personalised tablemat so they immediately feel they belong and feel at ease. Then they would come to John Grooms Court a few times for a longer period so they’re getting to know people better. We try to help them find residents with shared interests – might be for a game of chess, or kind of music. Sometimes we have to take people immediately, in an emergency care situation, and of course they do settle, but it’s harder for them because they often come with high anxiety.
What does a day at John Grooms Court look like?
It’s busy – once people are up and dressed, with support as needed, they might be off and out on their own, in their wheelchair, or picked up by transport to go out. A few people go to day centres, one guy who sadly was made redundant from a kitchen job during Covid now absolutely loves to help in our kitchen, so he gets kitted up with apron and gloves. Another person is supported to work at a local charity shop. I passed my minibus training recently so, along with other drivers on staff, we can now get people out a lot more
What is special about John Grooms Court?
I think for me it’s the way everyone knits together. Of course there are stressful moments but we have so much fun and laughter. We lost our manager to cancer recently which was very sad and upsetting for everyone, but the people we support showed such resilience and we mourned together. We decided to celebrate her life with a jolly afternoon tea and our raffle raised over £200 for Cancer Research. I also had a cancer journey recently and I was away from work for ten months. Once a month, everyone would zoom me – it was so important to me to keep in touch. The time I wore a clown wig was particularly popular with our residents! I always know I will come out of work smiling, so that’s got to be a special place!
How did you feel when you heard you’d won, as a team?
We were watching the awards online, and we couldn’t quite believe it – someone said ‘Did they just say we’d won it?’! Our manager Annie said ‘Yes, it’s you!’. We celebrated with a really posh afternoon tea, along with our residents.
Area manager Annie explains why she nominated this team for their award:
‘This staff team worked tirelessly through a very difficult period and not only did they struggle with Covid, short staffing and long hours, like everyone else, but they also did this without a manager on site the majority of the time, because she was ill. The staff team were very close to her and felt her absence and passing very keenly. I can only imagine how they felt, but to help their residents through this, they arranged a fundraiser! What I see on a day-to-day basis is a staff team who are committed to making a difference for the people they support, even in the most difficult circumstances. I’m really proud to work alongside them.’