These sessions have been hugely beneficial

Shannon Willemen - Team Lead

Aspire Community Support

My name is Shannon; I am a Team Lead for Aspire Community Support. The sessions with White Cloud have given me an opportunity that I would not usually have in my day-to-day role; A chance to sit with colleagues and have honest conversations with each other about our experiences and perspectives in relation to different topics or issues that we face in the disability sector.

The topics that we have discussed have been thought provoking and paved the way for conversations that are not often had. Topics such as ethical dilemmas, challenging behaviours and building relationships. In our day-to-day roles we are often focused so much on the task at hand, that we don’t have time to stop and reflect on these things.

One session I found particularly beneficial was the session on ethical dilemmas. Often we are caught in a grey area between what the person we support wants or needs and what their family’s wishes are. In the session I was able to share examples that I have struggled with and gain feedback and ideas that have ultimately helped me to work through the dilemmas. That is not to say that the dilemma was solved but I have a clearer understanding of where I sit with it and how I may go about coming to a resolution.

Listening to the perspectives and experiences of my colleagues has opened up my thinking about my own role. During the 10 years that I have been working in the disability sector, I have often felt that my role was looked down upon by people outside of the sector. I used to dread the question “What do you do for a living?”. I would think to myself “Well, how do I really explain my job? There’s so much to it and they are not going to understand”. I often felt that people thought that I was “just a care worker”, they had no real understanding of the complexities and challenges that we face in this industry. The White Cloud sessions have helped me to realise that the knowledge I have about the people I support and my role, is specialist knowledge that is highly valued, I am not “just the care worker”. I have realised my personal identity as a professional in the disability sector.

I feel that these sessions have been hugely beneficial for myself, my colleagues and by extension, for Aspire. I am really grateful that Aspire have recognised the benefits of these sessions and invested in them for their staff.  I really look forward to these sessions and what they bring. No matter what kind of day I am having, I always leave the session feeling clear-headed, positive, uplifted and refreshed. I hope that other organisations will the see the benefits and give their staff the opportunity to be a part of White Cloud.