Katie’s diary - shadowing the Director of Adult Services and Making it Real in Shropshire
“It may sound dramatic, but his belief in me and the shadowing experience has confirmed that I want to do a something different with my life. I want to do a Social Work degree. Like the Making it Real ‘I’ statement says: “I can live the life I want to and do the things that are important to me as independently as possible”.
Katie, a member of Shropshire Council’s Making it Real board and someone accessing services locally, discusses a life changing day in her life shadowing the Director of Adult Services and Making it Real in Shropshire.
I am part of Shropshire’s Making it Real Board (MiR), committed to motivating Shropshire Council to get better at what it does. I recently shadowed the Director of Adult Services and Housing; that’s Andy, by the way. I’ve known him for a few years now, and it’s been a long running joke for me to talk about him taking a siesta mid-afternoon. Shadowing him was my chance to check the truth.
Even though I know him, I had nerves at the beginning of day but he was laid back and welcoming. Straight away he introduced me to people and made it clear that this was business; it was great was that he had not altered his day in any way. Complete confidentiality was expected - I was pleased to agree. I felt this showed belief & respect for me and for the volunteering that I do to make Making it Real a reality in Shropshire.
The day with Andy reminded me of a video that I recorded a while ago for Making it Real in Shropshire. In that video I spoke about attending meetings and I said “when I come into the room, my disability is left at the door, because everyone can see me for who I am. It allows me to feel I’m a person not a disability”.
It may sound dramatic, but his belief in me and the shadowing experience has confirmed that I want to do a something different with my life. I want to do a Social Work degree.
What inspired me was seeing, first hand, the effect of discussions on a lot of people’s lives. It was the passion shown, in what some might regard as a ‘boring meeting involving the legal team’, that did it for me.
On this day, Andy and Tanya (Head of Adult Social Care or second in command), were discussing the future of people being supported by one of the Council’s care provider partners. The future of the national care provider was in doubt. People had to have a plan in place in case things went wrong.
It was seeing decision making in action that convinced me about my future and my commitment to a degree. The passion involved, and decisions made were not just about doing a job, they were about people’s lives. When Andy and Tanya go into work in the morning – they are going to make a difference to people’s lives.
It was the same with Andy, he sees beyond my disability and this has reinforced my own belief that I could do the job I want to do. Like the Making it Real ‘I’ statement says: “I can live the life I want to and do the things that are important to me as independently as possible”.
Spending time with him confirmed that we are moving in the right direction as we try to ‘make it real’ in Shropshire.
And finally, by the way, I was having lunch while he took his siesta!
Thank you, Andy, Tanya and all who are working to make it real in Shropshire.
(Note: Katies shadowing experience was set up as part of Shropshire Making it Real’s ‘Mission Impossible’ initiative, an idea from our Chairperson that is aimed at mutual understanding of experiences, roles and responsibilities - essential for effective co-production).