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Our Community Care case studies 

Chloe Cottle's story

Chloe“I work as a Visitor Officer in Brunelcare’s South Gloucestershire Community Services team, based in Kingswood, Bristol.

My specialist role involves working closely with our clients’ social workers and carrying out what we call our ‘meet and greet’ meetings each time we take on a new client for care. I complete a careful assessment of someone’s care needs and help set up their new care plan.

I didn’t initially train to work in care; in fact I was completing a two year beauty therapy course at college when I decided I wanted to work in care instead. The reason for this change in direction was that I spent some of my time caring for my Grandad and Nan whilst I was at college, and this experience made me decide that I would prefer to work in care.

One of the key highlights whilst working as a carer was when I arranged a Christmas party for one of my clients, a bed-bound lady who tended to have very few visitors to her home and was without close family. With the help of a colleague, and some of the lady’s friends from her local church, we made sure that she had her favourite Christmas songs to listen to all day, making sure she had the best celebration! I also work most Sundays providing care to people living in my local area, which I find immensely satisfying as I just like to know someone is being helped.

What would I say to someone thinking of working in care? To provide care to someone is a highly rewarding feeling. Very often you can be the only person your client sees all day, and during your visit you lift their spirits, make them feel more comfortable and leave them feeling happier.

I found my first care job by simply searching ‘care jobs near me’ online. I then applied for the vacancies from that search. I also handed out my CV to local companies. That is something I would also recommend if you are searching for a job in care. Brunelcare welcomes that.

A carer’s job is skilled. Within the first three months, a carer works towards their Care Certificate. Brunelcare provides our full training - throughout our career. The role entails learning and developing many specialist skills and all carers are required to undertake regular training as part of the job in order to acquire and maintain appropriate skills. I have completed my Care Certificate training and many carers have NVQs in Health and Social care that form part of their qualifications and training.

There are also many opportunities to progress your career, as I have found within just five years. I started as a Carer but now have the more specialist role within our team.

Given the demands and challenges you face as a carer, there are key qualities and attributes that I think make a good carer. These include excellent listening skills, the desire to learn and develop all the many specialist skills required; such as feeding techniques, manual handling best practice and excellent communication skills - to name just a few.

I think strength of character is key, to help you cope with the emotional aspects of the work, and to help maintain a positive, caring and motivating approach.

It’s such a rewarding job, knowing that you are helping others.”


Amanda Brooks' story

Reablement Worker Amanda“I work for Brunelcare as a Reablement Worker, in our South Gloucestershire Community Services team based in Kingswood, Bristol.

Working in care was prompted by the need to change my career. My previous job as an ice-skating coach and trainer came to an end when Bristol closed its city centre ice rink.

In my efforts to find a completely new job, I looked at a Government website one day and saw an advert for a Reablement Worker. I didn’t know what the job title meant but was inspired by it - discovering that it was a care role helping people rehabilitate at home after a stay in hospital. I decided I could really see myself in the role! So, I applied to Brunelcare to be one of their Reablement Workers. I found the application process very smooth. After the interview, I was told I had exactly the qualities they were looking for and have been a Reablement Worker for five years now.

The aspect of my job that I most enjoy is simply the fact that I am helping people regain their skills, to live independently.

In most cases I will only be assisting people for about six weeks, generally after a stay in hospital. It is very rewarding to help someone regain their confidence, to help them find new ways to cope with everyday tasks themselves, reaching a stage where their independence has been regained without further need for care visits.

One of the highlights of my care career is the satisfying transfer of my skills to a new profession. I am still using my coaching and training skills helping people achieve more than they thought they could. I also love hearing the stories people have to tell as I get to know them and their family whilst providing their support. And just seeing small changes in people, and their increased confidence, can be the most rewarding thing when it makes such a huge difference to someone’s daily life.

Working with Brunelcare I can also continue seeing some of those I cared for in Reablement when they move into longer-term community care; as our care team also provides that longer-term ‘Community Services’ home care. I occasionally cover those care shifts too.

My daily work often entails teaching someone new ways to look after themselves, reminding someone that ‘they can do it’. For example, a gentleman who had become partially sighted needed gentle encouragement from me, finding new ways to arrange his bathroom in such a way that he could wash and get ready for the day himself. He needed plenty of very practical, encouraging suggestions to get him to the point where he could manage and care confidently for himself. It was extremely satisfying to see his confidence gradually return over the weeks I helped him rehabilitate, within his own home.

My advice to people trying to find work in care is - don’t be put off by what you hear! Search online and read the online reviews for the company you are looking to join. Also, don’t be afraid of actually trying out the work to see how you get on! The job is very much about using your initiative, being highly self-motivated, being assertive and caring in appropriate measures, and feeling at ease with people from all walks of life. You do need to be able to ‘think on the spot’ but if you need complex support, at Brunelcare you know your colleagues are only one phone call away.

Working as a Reablement Worker, or Community Carer i.e. providing care to people in their own homes, is highly skilled work. Working so closely with people means you can often find yourself in challenging and demanding situations. My work draws on multiple skills, some of which require specific training e.g. Care Certificate training, manual handling skills training.  But in my case I can see that I have also been able to transfer many of the key skills that I acquired in my previous role as a trainer, such as coaching, communication and motivational techniques – and working with people. I have thrived in my role with Brunelcare because I have also been able to develop my skills by putting myself forward for new opportunities that arise in the team. Recently I have put myself forward and completed training as a Medication Assessor and Manual Handling Trainer. I now visit three of Brunelcare’s extra-care housing sites to provide manual handling training to our other care teams.

I do my job because I want to do it. I chose my new career in care. It is highly challenging at times, but rewarding in equal measures.

I feel strongly that the profession needs to stand up more for itself. Also that we all need to grasp the fact that people who require care do want to do things for themselves, and that is how we should all approach the support we provide that person with – friends, family and care teams alike. It’s important to stress that the work is highly skilled and that the best carers are undoubtedly the more adaptable, patient and self-motivated people amongst us.

Changes I’d like to see in the future care profession? Better integration between the health support services. For example, for social workers to develop a better knowledge of what community carers do, and vice versa, so that we can provide exactly the right care for the individual and not just ‘work to a particular contract’.

For me, it keeps coming back to genuinely treating someone (the person you provide care to) as an individual.”


Reablement Worker CayleighCayleigh Milne's story

“I work for Brunelcare as a Reablement Worker, in our South Gloucestershire Community Services team based in Kingswood, Bristol.

I’ve worked in the care sector for nine years now, working originally as a carer supporting adults with learning difficulties. Five years ago I moved to Bristol, which meant finding a new job. I sent my application to Brunelcare and was recruited as a Reablement Worker, which remains my current role.

The thing I enjoy most about my job is, quite simply, being able to help people! My job is about ‘reabling’ someone when they have been discharged home from a hospital stay. I help set personal goals designed to help them regain their independence as quickly as possible. I support people for up to six weeks, or sometimes it is very quick – my support is just needed for a fortnight. I focus on finding many ways to help people manage and adjust at home. For example, the other day I simply raised the height of a zimmer frame and just doing that helped the lady move around her home much more easily!

A highlight of my job that springs to mind is the time I supported a young man who had suffered a stroke. He showed so much determination working with me during our six weeks of reablement and did regain full independence in his home within that time. That was a proud moment for both of us. On a different note I find it highly rewarding to receive notes of thanks from the families of those we support. One note recently included ‘thanks for making Mum laugh’. I was really touched by that.

To those thinking of working as a carer I would definitely say it’s a role best suited to someone who is a ‘people person’. I believe all of us have the skills to help people but a carer is someone who really makes the most of that skill. I would also recommend talking to carers to find out what they do. You could even try spending a day with carer to see what the role typically involves.

I challenge an often quoted perception that the care industry is ‘unskilled’. It is a multi-skilled role that does require training and qualifications. All Brunelcare’s carers are required to obtain the Care Certificate within the first three months of joining us, and are provided with free, in-house training and ongoing support. As part of my job, I am a Care Certificate Assessor for Brunelcare and therefore have regular and direct involvement with our carers’ training. I really appreciate the fact that Brunelcare responds positively to our training requests and actively supports our development. I witness first-hand the hard work our carers put into obtaining qualifications and developing skills. All this also helps us deliver the highest quality care.

Our clients are aware of some of negative language used around care. They are grateful for what we do and don’t underestimate what is involved. They do notice and comment that we have to have the right abilities and skills to do the job; that not everyone would be suited to it given the demands of caring effectively for someone. I’m always learning, constantly thinking about new ways I can help someone.

Care is a vital service. We should remember it’s not just the person we care for that benefits but someone else too. A partner most often, who would otherwise be providing constant care with little or no relief! I think that is often forgotten. Our care takes the pressure off the NHS and families too. I’d love to read and hear more positive stories about our profession.”

For more information about working as a Community Carer with Brunelcare see current vacancies in South Gloucestershire 



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