Yolanda

I am well into my 3rd year with Crossroads. Prior to working with Crossroads I was employed at a visitor centre in the area which closed. Having worked in the caring profession in my very early years and not quite ready for retirement, a very good friend recommended Crossroads who were recruiting at the time.

Feeling a bit apprehensive I entered the Crossroads office and was soon put at ease with a very warm welcome. It was such a good feeling that being of a mature age I was still considered employable!

The office were very quick and efficient in organising the necessary documents and training required.

I am absolutely thoroughly enjoying the challenge of the job, there are highs and lows and lots more laughter than tears I’m pleased to say. All very rewarding. A slight downside would be the fight against the clock a lot of the time.

All the office personnel are very approachable and are a solid life-line giving re-assurance and knowing that help is only a phone call away, especially out of hours.

I have met lovely service users and colleagues. Endeavouring to do my best at each and every visit, I hope I am a good ambassador in representing the service that Crossroads provides.

Emma

I first started with Crossroads in 2014 (October). I knew very little about what was involved in being a care attendant.

I came from a hospitality background which I had done for 15 years. Moving to Crossroads was a complete career change for me, so I thought. I was extremely nervous when I first started but my mind was soon put at ease by the staff in the office. All my training was organised and paid for which gave me the tools I needed to carry out my role as a care attendant.

I soon realised that some of the skills I had picked up in the hospitality trade were going to be key. The biggest I found was the ability to communicate on all levels. Gaining the trust and respect of the service users for me was crucial, also communicating with the office was important. Once I had mastered that I found my job got easier and the nerves began to disappear.

Now nearly five years on I can truly say I have enjoyed every minute of my time with Crossroads and have no desire to move on.

Crossroads is a very good company to work for. All training is provided, the pay is great and the people are even better, right down to the other staff, office, service users and their families.

Amie

Growing up I never imagined I would end up as a carer. My Granny was a nurse and my Mum. Listening to their stories daily made me realise the importance of helping people and what impact it can have.

After leaving school I went into admin work which I enjoyed but something was missing. I decided to have a career change. I worked with a couple of care companies before I came to Crossroads.

The difference in the management and daily running of the office is second to none. The support I have received since starting has been amazing, they make you feel like you matter as a member of staff. Training that has been provided is amazing and very regular. I finally can say I love my job especially because every day is a different challenge and knowing that you can make such a difference to someone’s day is so rewarding.

I am one of the new additions to the Crossroads Care team. I started with Crossroads a couple of months ago after moving in with my boyfriend within the local area.

Erin

I used to work in a restaurant when I lived down in Dumfries.

Working with Crossroads has taught me a lot of valuable things, particularly ensuring the safety of others, always having to think things through in a linear pattern to ensure the best outcome of results are delivered. Patience is a key factor to what I have adjusted to since starting as a young carer, it means ensuring you are taking your time when supporting a vulnerable adult. Learning how to behave and act in an appropriate manner as a carer for someone else. Learning to maintain great values and respect when working with someone else, your role is to help look after another individual as well as delivering great care you also have to respect that person and their dignity.

I’ve learned that a job role like this is second nature to me, I love working with other people, I love the feeling that when you finish for the night you have helped impact on someone’s day positively and it’s always great working alongside a supportive team. The Manager and the office team are always available to talk to whenever you need help or a problem sorted. They are all very approachable and are understanding that it is hard sometimes to get everything right. With the correct training that they ensure you receive and being able to communicate well with them I think makes for a better work place and has really helped me as someone who came from a background with no experience in care to build up the confidence, the positive work attitude and the understanding I have today.

Getting employed by Crossroads has been so far the best road for me to take as my journey continues as a young adult looking for a place within society.

Pat

I came to Crossroads after working at Burrowhead holiday village, I was looking for a fresh start. I have now worked with Crossroads for two years and I was made more than welcome by the office staff and care attendants that I work with. I started with a few hours in Newton Stewart and have now worked my way up to my rota.

The service users are all nice and make you feel very welcome in their homes, you build up a bond with them and they learn to trust you.

I have had full training for everything (first aid, meds etc). The staff in the office are all nice and are all there to help with any problems. We have staff meetings for any problems.

We are all one big happy family.

Vera Marshall

Vera Marshall

Vera has long-standing connections with Wigtownshire. 

She worked as a farm secretary for several years and left the area only because her mother was ill and needed her at home.  Also, her husband was from the Newton Stewart area, so it was a natural decision to move back here when they retired and he had fallen ill. 

Vera also goes back a long way with Crossroads.  Initially, while living in Staffordshire she became the carer of her husband, and received 5 hours per week respite from the local Scheme. 

After she and her husband returned to Newton Stewart, she was put in touch with Crossroads (Newton Stewart and Machars) Care Attendant Scheme by her GP, and received the same allocation of hours, which she was able to use flexibly – often as a block to enable her to go to Ayr or Dumfries.  Her husband enjoyed the visits of the care attendants and of our manager, Mrs Gorman, who became a family friend. 

When her husband passed away, Vera wanted to give something back to Crossroads so she joined the management committee, later becoming a director of the Scheme.  She served for many years, bringing the carer’s perspective to the deliberations and decisions of the Board as well as being involved in a wide variety of roles from recruitment of staff to fund-raising.  Her input was invaluable.

After several joint replacement operations, the wheel has turned full circle and Crossroads is once again supporting Vera – this time to enable her to remain living in her own home.  When care was needed, she had no hesitation in asking for Crossroads and has nothing but praise for her care attendants and the management staff. 

In order to cover the visits required, Vera was asked to accept a male care attendant.  She was a little reticent about this at first, but has found the arrangement perfectly satisfactory.  She says “All the care attendants are sensitive and willing to help in any way they can to do what is needed”.  She enjoys their company and looks forward to their visits.

Tracy is the carer of her daughter, Kayleigh.

She moved to the Isle of Whithorn with her family in 1992, to run a B & B business. Kayleigh was born here and was diagnosed with a condition called Sanfilippo, just before her eighth birthday, in 2001.  This is a very rare inherited disease of metabolism.

Initially, Tracy received a little respite care from Crossroads, but this has increased over the years as Kayleigh’s symptoms have became more severe and demanding. When she left school, it was necessary to cover the hours that Kayleigh had spent there, and we now deliver 5-7 hours seven days a week, plus 3 nights, as Kayleigh is wakeful throughout. Two care attendants care for Kayleigh during the day as care is provided outwith the home, while one is on duty overnight as Tracy can be called upon to help if necessary.

The seven care attendants work a rota and take Kayleigh to a variety of activities each week. These include swimming, attendance at the ARC in Newton Stewart and visits to attractions in the area. Tracy believes that the stimulation provided adds quality to Kayleigh’s life and has helped to prolong it. Likewise, the need for a good walk each day is essential to keep Kayleigh mobile – as Tracy put it ‘if you don’t use it you’ll lose it’ – so she insists on this, and the care attendants ensure it happens. 
Tracy’s relationship with the care attendants and with the management team is very good.  She feels confident that her care attendants look after Kayleigh well and describes them as excellent.  They communicate well with Kayleigh and respond appropriately to her moods – trying to fit suitable activities to them.  Tracy also knows that if she needs to discuss anything with the management team, she just has to ring the office to speak to someone.

Tracy has never considered changing care provider.  Personalisation has given her more control over Kayleigh’s care, but she continues to employ Crossroads.  She feels that the care attendants know Kayleigh well and, in turn, Kayleigh likes being with them.  They seem to enjoy their work and in some ways have become part of the family.  

Pauline is originally from Yorkshire. She married a Scot and they moved to Creetown in 1990 to be midway between their two families. 

Sadly her husband died in 2000 but she did not want to move back south as she felt at home in the community that she felt sure, would ‘keep an eye’ on her – and so it has proven.

As the years rolled on, Pauline had to go into hospital and on her return home she began receiving support from Crossroads. Originally this was for three visits per day but as she became more able to fend for herself, it was reduced to a morning and a bedtime visit which allow her to continue to live in her own home. 

The key purpose of the visits are to help with Pauline’s support stockings, without which she would be unable to live independently. The care attendants also help with other things which Pauline finds difficult, and are willing to turn their hands to anything she needs. She gets on well with them all, using words like ‘brilliant’ to describe the service they give

She cited instances when the care attendants have gone out of their way to help her, and praised the way the Crossroads care attendants who live in the village arranged to divide it up between them to ensure that everyone was visited and taken care of, when the recent heavy snow hit the area.

Pauline summed up her feelings about Crossroads by saying that she could not do without the service. She looks forward to the care attendants’ visits and enjoys their chat.

Lotioned and potioned, creamed and perfumed,
My Crossroads attendants ensure I am groomed.
Each day starts the same, with good humour and smiles.
I may read my paper or book for a while,
Wait for the postman – or make a few calls,
My telephone friends think I’m rarely alone
As I frequently tell them “you must excuse me –
I’ll talk to you later – someone’s come in!”

Crossroads come alone, or paired, perhaps tripled,
Keep up my spirits, as do a measure
Of sherry, Campari, madeira, Martini!
I hear small talk of rotas and shifts and
Making an entry (but not through a door)
It can only be read in the Red Book of Lore
That’s no work of fiction, it’s true as can be
Come see for yourself – it’s beyond me!

E.P.