Arlene's 22 year Lifeways Career
Arlene joined Lifeways in 1998 when we only had three offices in London, Glasgow and Ayr. Fast forward 22 years later and Arlene is still a part of the Lifeways team. Here's what she had to say:
What initially drew you to Lifeways?
"When I first came across Lifeways, I was in the process of being recertified as a teacher after being out for 13 years raising a family. As the wife of an evangelist, there wasn’t exactly a lot of money going around so mummy had to go back to work. My plan was to work for a couple of years to save up money and go back to college. However, after working at Lifeways for a couple of weeks I knew I couldn’t leave this job. I had applied and been accepted for two other jobs but I couldn’t start until after the new year. The manager at Lifeways, asked me if I could stay and help them over the holiday period until I started my other job to which I agreed. Come the new year it was too late – I was hooked and simply couldn’t leave. I enjoyed working with the people that I supported so much. I never imagined I would still be here after all this time considering it was initially just a temporary job".
What has changed during your time at Lifeways?
"When I started there were just three offices in Lifeways – London, Glasgow and Ayr. Now we are one of the largest care providers in the UK with over 11,000 employees – that’s a huge change!
In the mid-2000s we went from being a small family-run business to the successful company that we see now. I like the fact that most of our offices still retain that family-like atmosphere where people feel welcome and included. Each company that has been acquired over the years has brought something to Lifeways that makes us better, and improves our service delivery".
What will you be celebrating about Lifeways 25th birthday?
"I enjoy meeting the people that we support when I deliver in-house, service-specific hoist training, because sometimes I miss the hands-on support work. As a trainer and part of the Workforce Development Team, I enjoy meeting the new learners who come into the induction and, hopefully, I can instil good practice in them before sending them out into the field. I love seeing them ‘get it’ and build on their new understanding of the role."
What is your favourite Lifeways memory?
I enjoyed taking the people we support on holiday and seeing them have a wonderful time. My favourite was taking one of the people we support with severe cerebral palsy on a ‘Magical Musical Tour’ of Tennessee, something she never thought she would be able to do as a wheelchair-user. We started at Dollywood in East Tennessee (she’s a HUGE Dolly Parton fan), then the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville in Middle Tennessee, and then lastly we were in West Tennessee to visit Graceland in Memphis. She loved every minute of the trip and would love to go again. The part she loved most? The people – they were so welcoming and friendly".