In his own words: Luke’s inspiring others to achieve
The following blog was written by Luke McCormack, who is supported by AFG at Albany Heights in Blackburn, with the help of team leader Marcus West. Luke hopes it will inspire other people whom AFG supports.
I moved into Albany Heights on 16 January 2019. Before this I lived at home with my father but wanted my own independence. I believed that I wouldn’t be able to fully understand the responsibilities of managing my own tenancy and would need support with managing bills, maintaining a tenancy and learning independent skills. But mostly with my ‘confidence building skills.’
I spoke with my social worker and asked if I could move from my family home and become more independent. After AFG received the application, the initial assessment was started by (Team Leader) Marcus West. During the assessment I said that I would like to become a support worker one day, to gain greater understanding of the social care sector and to be able to give back my experience of vulnerabilities to others in need.
I started volunteering at East Lancashire hospice where I was praised for my contribution. I am naturally a person- centred person. Encouraged, I started my own activities at East Lancashire hospice including baking cakes, art projects and creative writing.
By the time I moved into Albany Heights, I was working part-time as a customer assistant at a supermarket in Preston. I worked 27 hours a week and enjoyed the job. But I believed that my skills set could be put to better use in the area that had always intrigued him – the social care sector.
Between January and April 2019, I settled in well. I had an excellent rapport with staff and residents and had become more confident in managing my tenancy. During a chat with Marcus, I mentioned that I was interested in looking for a job in social care. Marcus told me that AFG would fully support him in doing so, fully believing that I would be suitable for social care. Unfortunately, I could not be ineligible to work for AFG due to conflicts of interest.
But I found another local social care provider which was advertising for a casual support worker. AFG staff and the team leader encouraged me to apply for the post. They also helped me to prepare for my interview – going through interview questions and social care queries, providing advice and supporting research for the role.
In May 2019, I had my job interview. Following the interview, I was worried about how well I’d performed. But AFG staff supported me and told me that just getting an interview was a massive step towards meeting my goals. I received another phone call asking me to come for a second interview. This second stage only involved a couple of questions and meeting staff. Following the interview Luke was told: ‘Congratulations. We would like to offer you a job as a casual support worker.’
I was both excited and anxious about the job as it was new and challenging. But he also knew the role matched his skill set and was something he always wanted to be. This was the perfect path for me, a great step towards fulfilling my potential.
I started my new job in early August 2019 and am really enjoying it. As any support worker would say, it has its ups and downs. But seeing the service users complete their goals in life and gaining confidence puts a smile on my face and reminds me where I was just 12- 18 months ago. Watching people gain confidence is massive for me.
My next goal in life is to move out of Albany Heights and get my own mortgage. I’ve opened my own ISA and started saving. I would like to have moved out by next summer. Someone else needs this opportunity to live at Albany Heights and to gain the confidence to succeed in their lives. When I move out, the biggest thing I will miss is the staff. But seeing the other service users gain so much confidence and settle so well helps me know that Albany Heights has worked well to get the best out of these adults.
I knows that once I move out, I will be very welcome to visit whenever I want – even for a coffee and chat or participating in activities and outreach support.
I feel that I have a fantastic story proving that AFG values help to get the best out of people. And that some people, regardless of their needs, can always reach their potential with the right environment and surroundings. Empowerment and encouragement are the most important thing support workers need to apply to their job role when working with people.
Thanks for taking the time out to read my story, and hopefully this story can inspire others to believe to achieve.’