Behind the scenes at BelleVie – Fraser’s Story
Here at BelleVie, we devote our time to supporting people to thrive at home. But who are the people that make BelleVie what it is?
In a new series, we take a look behind the scenes and meet the people who are the beating hearts of BelleVie. Today it’s the turn of Fraser O’Donovan. Fraser joined our Oxfordshire Team in January 2022 as a Wellbeing Support Worker and is now our Oxford based Community Connector.
Fraser tells us how he made the switch to care from a role in retail and the best parts of his job.
Q: When did you first consider a job in care?
A: I was working between 45 and 65 hours a week as an assistant manager in a shop when I realised things needed to change. I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed and was at breaking point. I started looking for another job as I wanted something where I could make a difference and feel rewarded. I needed to find something that was better for my overall wellbeing.
Q: Did you have any caring experience?
A: No, I didn’t. But my nan was ill when I was growing up, so I helped with her care when my mum was busy working. My brother has Asperger’s syndrome and sometimes needs extra support with things, so unintentionally I did elements of caring for others.
Q: Why BelleVie?
A: The ethos of BelleVie stuck out to me. Local teams self-manage themselves meaning we can decide how best to care for people as we know them as individuals. We all bring our own skills and interests and work brilliantly together as a small unit.
We become extended family for the people we support; we’re not watching the clock. We don’t have 15-minute slots, we’re there for however long people need.
For me, having blocks of five-hour shifts means it’s flexible and I’m not over exhausted like I used to be.
Q: What’s the best part of the job?
A: What makes my day is to have a cup of tea with someone, maybe I’m the only person they’ve seen all day. I get to make sure they’re warm, clean and comfortable. You’re making someone feel less isolated.
Whether it’s small things, like being company for someone to bigger things like helping someone with their mobility and medication, it’s all incredibly rewarding. When people feel supported to keep their independence at home, they’re so much happier.
Q: What’s challenging about care work?
A: It’s hard seeing someone who is vulnerable and how that affects them. Especially as you create meaningful connections with that person and their family. But my team is very supportive and there’s always someone to talk to.
Q: Were you worried about any of the personal aspects of caring?
A: To start with I was worried about giving someone a shower or having to deal with the messier side of caring. But it’s just one part of the role and there’s so much more. I love making connections with people and being there to support them. You realise you’re helping that vulnerable person to be safe and clean. There’s a bigger picture and that’s what’s important.
Q: Is there a moment that’s stuck with you?
A: There’s a gentleman who when I started to see him had a lot of mobility issues, had falls quite often and was depressed. We supported him to eat every day and over time we organised his medication and built up a strong relationship. Now he looks forward to our visits and is upbeat, positive and enjoys life. His daughter was almost in tears about the difference we’ve made, how positively we’ve impacted his life and how much more independent he is.
Q: What would you say to someone thinking of a career in care?
A: Go for it! You don’t need experience in care to make a difference. If you can take the initiative, be empathetic, a great communicator and a people-person, you’ll excel at care work.
Q: You’ve recently been promoted to the role of Community Connector. What does that involve?
Q: My main focus is to connect people in the local community. This includes recruitment, building relationships and making sure people in Oxfordshire know who we are. I’m also working on a new initiative called Thrive at home, which is finding trusted people who are DBS checked that can come and help people in their homes. This could be tradespeople, hairdressers or beauty technicians.
We’re currently recruiting for Wellbeing Support Workers. If you’ve been inspired by Fraser’s story, you can find out more information about a career in care here