Donna began working at HC-One care home in Frome nearly 18 years ago. Being in a paid job has helped her to be more independent.
“After leaving college, I had a few jobs, but none of them lasted. I went to the Job Centre told, and they told me HC-One were looking for kitchen staff,” says Donna, GLH tenant.
“It all happened on the same day; I rang up, then went for an interview, and was told I’d got the job. Two days later I started and have been there ever since. I love working at the care home! It’s a full time job, I work 35 hours a week and it’s in walking distance from my flat.
Each day the carers tell us what food the residents would like to eat. The food is cooked, and some of it needs to be liquidised. There are two floors in the care home, each has a dining area. We take the food and drinks trollies up to the dining areas and serve them to the residents. I enjoy chatting to them and having a laugh, there are some real characters!
My favourite jobs in the kitchen are cleaning and cooking, but I only do the cooking sometimes. One of the cooks who used to work there taught me. I also do the washing up and put everything away.
I get on really well with the staff and they’re really supportive. I’ve made some good friends here, and we’re arranging a night out soon.
Earning my own money means I can be more independent. When I was growing up I lived with my Dad and Sister. My Dad did everything for me, but now I’d rather do it myself. I pay for some of my rent, the bills and food shopping. I’ve been doing my flat up, and I’ve been able to buy some things for it.
Most of my family live local. My Mum lives two doors down from me. It’s good to have everyone close by. I use my wages to go out with my family and friends too.”
Jane Reynolds, care manager at HC-One says, “Donna’s a great employee and a lovely person. She’s come a long way since she started. We’re always here to give her the support she needs, we’ve created the environment where we help both the residents and our staff.
She works in a team of four in the kitchen. She has high standards and takes pride in her work, often putting herself forward for the cleaning which she loves doing.
Donna can’t read or write but has an amazing memory. We have online training for staff, so a member of the team provides the support she needs to complete it.
We’ve got a great team here, and she knows she can always come to see me at any point.
We asked her to run the kitchen on one occasion, she was amazing and exceeded our expectations – I was really proud of her, we all were.
She’s definitely in the right job and I’m not sure what we’d do without her.”
Find out more
This year, Mencap’s Learning Disability Week focuses on employment, visit their website to find out more. #LDWeek17