It's magic

Ashley is 56, married with 3 grown up children, and for the past 30 years has been working as a professional magician. Ashley has worked at holiday centres, on cruise ships and been in panto, and recently made the leap into care work as a support worker for Charlie.

Ashley joined the Lifeways Group in 2018 with no previous experience of supporting people or social care qualifications.  When asked if that put him off applying, Ashley says, “I was looking for something that would make me feel useful again. My kids are adults now, they don’t really need me and I really enjoy problem-solving. I realised I could transfer the skills I acquired as a performer and a parent to social care, and maybe make a difference in someone’s life.

Working with the people we support is like solving multiple puzzles at once. Take Charlie for instance, I realised that the sounds Charlie was making had meaning and just spent some time listening and watching him to see what they meant. I quickly learnt that he really enjoys music, if I woke Charlie by singing he was happy and would be happy to get up, dressed and join in with others. When it’s time to go for a walk I sing, we’re off to see the wizard and Charlie joins in, in his own way and is happy to go out. We’ve made lots of progress in a short amount of time, it’s amazing to connect with him like this and we have made a really special bond.

Support work fits in really well with my home life and the company are really flexible. I am scaling back on the performing as I am no longer finding it fulfilling. It feels like it’s the right time to give back to my local community and the people we support. The reward I felt when I first made a connection with Charlie was a brilliant and I want to carry on to see where this career takes me.”

We asked Ashley if there was anything he didn’t like about the job and he laughed and said “Paperwork, but really who would rather do paperwork when you could be out singing with Charlie!”

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