A home care visitor this month marks five years working as a carer after years working in nursery and childcare.
Sharon Crater, 51, from Lingwood, near Norwich, joined the award-winning Extra Hands after observing the impact home care visitors had on the life of an elderly neighbour.
Recently, she won the company's GEM award, which stands for Going the Extra Mile, where service users have a chance to nominate carers they feel deserve recognition for their work.
She says her move from nursery and childcare to home care was a bit of a gamble, but one that has paid off in spectacular fashion.
“When I joined, I wanted something totally different, and it took a few months for me to adjust, but once I was confident, I began to really enjoy the work and the company,” she said.
Extra Hands was set up 28 years ago as a family company, and despite its success and expansion, those core values still play a big part today. “It’s a hard job, but the people who run the company know that, and they really appreciate your work,” she explained.
“If there’s a big turnover of staff at any company, you know they’re doing something wrong, but here, people like to stay, which is a sign that the company is getting things right. The management want to know their staff are happy, that matters to them.”
Over the past nearly three decades, Extra Hands has grown to provide a wide range of care packages for all budgets and personal circumstances for care users across Norfolk, including a daily wellbeing check-up service for people who are unable to visit their loved ones on a regular basis.
Sharon said the fact that staff were made to feel valued was a big part of the company’s success, and after five years of learning, being a carer for Extra Hands meant she had a job and an employer that both gave her great satisfaction.
“I can’t believe five years have gone by already, but I love the work and I would definitely recommend the company too,” she said. “Once I was settled, I fell in love with what I’m doing, and I still am. I’d certainly like to think I’ll be celebrating another anniversary in another five years – I’ve no plans to go anywhere else.”
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