‘The skies the limit’ for Kevin thanks to Odjuku and the Albourne Road team

Support Worker Odjuku Kindemba’s dedicated commitment to service user Kevin’s life has earned him the ‘We make a positive contribution’ award at the recent AFG Celebrating Success awards.

His positive and calming attitude has transformed Kevin’s life allowing him to live life to the full in a safe but challenging environment.

This was despite Odjuku only being with AFG for three months, having moved from the Gerrard’s Lane service to Aldbourne Road in Liverpool to support Kevin who is autistic, non-verbal and exhibits challenging behaviours. Because of the complexity of Kevin’s needs, staff from other services had struggled to adapt to him.

Team leader Michelle Dooley explains: “At Albourne Road, Odjuku has displayed compassion and has developed a strong trusting relationship with Kevin and worked in collaboration with external agencies to learn techniques to support Kevin to communicate effectively using his preferred method of communication.”

As Kevin hadn’t seen his parents in several months, Odjuku was instrumental in setting up a home visit to his parents’ house resulting in positive outcomes. He was also proactive in gaining access to the community for Kevin who was unable to do so previously. Odjuku made it his priority to support Kevin with other staff members to access meaningful community activities including drives in his vehicle and walks in the park.

Michelle adds: “This has not always been easy for Odjuku but working with the service users and being persistent in his support he has overcome difficult challenges.”

Odjuku has successfully addressed many of Kevin’s difficult behaviours since his move which included hitting staff, stamping his feet and damaging his property. He persevered and identified the root causes, sharing with the Positive Behaviour Support team and working closely to eliminate these behaviours.

In difficult circumstances Odjuku has inspired other team members despite the lack of a consistent staff team.

“Odjuku has a very calming influence with service users. They respond well to him. When Odjuku’s on shift, Kevin invariably has a good day and smiles a lot.”

Odjuku has also developed a strong trusting relationship with family members who have spoken highly of his support with their son.

“Odjuku is flexible, respectful and always puts the service user at the heart of service delivery.”

Although Odjuku was only ‘on loan’ from Gerrard’s Lane, he has asked to stay at Albourne to help Kevin have a better-quality life.

“Odjuku is a valued team member who is willing to learn and share his knowledge with others to enable Kevin to have the best support to develop his independence. Kevin has blossomed and flourished with the support of Odjuku.

“He has carried out every task to a very high standard and as a team lead I’m proud to have him as part of my team. He is an inspiration to new team members and if everyone adopted his attitude and compassion the world would be a better place. He is a great ambassador for AFG.”

Despite being a new team at Albourne Road – comprising Melanie Fletcher, Steven Naylor, Mathew Agwae, Emma Thomas, Daniel Maples, Lawrence Mullen as well as Odjuku – it has been proactive and solution focussed, attracting commendations from commissioners and other professionals.

Michelle concludes: “I couldn’t be prouder of what they have all achieved. They have faced some very difficult behaviours and are still learning about Kevin’s triggers and behaviours but they have dealt with these in a professional and empathetic manner always putting him at the heart of service delivery. I can’t express enough how wonderful it is to work alongside such an amazing team. It makes my job so worthwhile – this is a great success story for AFG.”

Odjuku agrees: “The teamwork has been excellent and communications has been the key. Every week we sit down as a team and discuss how we can move forward. Michelle has empowered us to get on with it but is always there to support us when we need it.

“I feel that I’ve found myself in the right place with the right company at the right time. The skies the limit and I’m convinced that we can do even more in the future to make Kevin safe, comfortable and living life to the full.”