Award-Winning Work Project Benefits Darlington Care Home Residents

An innovative work placement scheme which has transformed the lives of two care home residents in Darlington has received a national award.

Beverley and Paul, who live in Danshell services in Darlington, and the team which supports them, including Service Manager Louise Vollans, won the ‘Trailblazer Employee’ award in Danshell’s national staff recognition awards.

Louise and the staff teams arrange transport to and from York and personal support to enable Bev and Paul to undertake work at Danshell’s office in York.

Both Bev and Paul have taken on roles that are new and daunting to them but are blazing a trail for other learning disabled people with enthusiasm and determination.  Bev works with the marketing team and Paul assists office administrator Dianne Clark.

The work placements have enabled the pair to develop their practical and personal skills, including respecting other people’s space and time in the office, dealing with setbacks, sharing and how to carry out a variety of office tasks and duties.  Bev and Paul have become valued colleagues to other workers and make a genuine contribution to the workplace in the tasks they do, and in the working relationships they make.

Helen Gent, head of marketing, said:  “We are lucky to have Bev working in our team; she is an asset and really does work very hard.  She is polite, eager and embraces all the jobs she is given.  She lights up the office and often gives us good ideas for marketing which we had not thought about.  This is not just an opportunity for Bev but an opportunity for everyone who has the pleasure of working with her.”

Dianne Clark, office manager, said:  “I get an emotional reward working with Paul and feel honoured to be part of Paul’s day.   I give him support and guide him to be the person he wants to be by giving him the opportunity to change the world he lives in.  Paul is keen to learn and completes his tasks in a timely manner; he is a friendly, polite gentleman, who has built up his confidence carrying out the weekly office tasks, interacting with all at York who welcome him to the office.”