Meet John Burke, in 2013 he joined The Ashley Foundation as a volunteer, now fast forward to 2019 and John has gone from a volunteer to a Duty Night Supervisor to a Support Officer. A valuable member of the team John is located at our hostel Holly House.
We asked John how he came to work in social care and he commented that he was once a volunteer Park Range at Stanley Park and that one day when out patrolling the park with his co-worker they came across a distressed man. At that moment John approached the man and persuaded him to sit and talk about his problems, after sitting with him for a while the man appeared to come around and sought medical advice. Inspired by his experience it made him realise that he could go on to help others.
John went on to volunteer as a Peer Mentor at Horizon in Blackpool, then on to work for ADS in Manchester at Bennett House for 2 years, whilst he continued to train for a role as a Support Worker.
What do you most enjoy about your role?
I enjoy watching people regain hope and trust when they arrive at the Foundation with none. When they walk through the door they are at rock bottom and it’s humbling to watch them turn their lives around and walk out a changed person – there is no better feeling.
It’s great to be able to empower people to get their lives back on track.
What are you looking forward to in your role as Support Officer?
I look forward to being proactive, when I was a Duty Supervisor I didn’t get too involved in a resident’s care plan, however, that’s all changed and as a Support Officer I’m keen to start supporting people on their journey to taking back control. It’s something that I’ve worked towards over the last few years and I’m passionate about helping others.
What does your role entail?
My role involves addressing the mental health issues of our residents including drug and alcohol-related issues. I work with them to determine their needs and then I help provide access to support services. However, we also do a lot more than that, I help residents by taking them to their appointments. I help them complete any necessary paperwork and give them the support they need to move onwards. I help residents to regain a sense of normality, a life, to learn what fun is again, just because they live in a hostel it doesn’t have to be boring. At The Ashley Foundation, we provide access to extra curriculum activities such as the gym, support groups, workshops this gives our residents a sense of purpose again.
In this role, you learn to read and understand the individual and I like to think that I’ve got it down to a fine art now. I offer counselling and practical advice and my door is always open; I say to our residents that they can ring me when they need me.
What are your hobbies and interest outside of work?
I like to travel and enjoy going abroad when I can. I’ve recently learned how to drive, and I actually quite enjoy it so I take great pleasure in taking the residents to their appointments. I know what it’s like to spend a lifetime using public transport and what a luxury it is to have my own transport.
I have a dog too so I also enjoy being outdoors walking the dog.