Frontlines – One of our team of practitioner columnists describes her feelings on leaving her team

After 10 years with a learning difficulties team Jennifer Harvey has moved on. Here she reflects on her past decade of work

This is a tribute to great team work. And to one great team in particular, the community learning disability team where I’ve worked for nearly 10 years, until last month.

I never chose to work 40 miles from home; it was a secondment that just carried on. For many years I did another part-time job at the same time. For a while that was 65 miles away in the opposite direction. It was crucial to remember what day it was before I set off to work and found myself heading the wrong way up the motorway.

Some serious stuff goes on in a CLDT. Helping people find homes, organising benefits, dealing with abuse allegations, relationship issues, transitions to adulthood, finding ways to communicate with people with different speech and language skills from our own, dealing with bereavement, encouraging people to reach their full potential, travel training and ensuring accessibility. All this involves more assessments than you can shake a stick at – community care assessments, carer’s  assessments, risk assessments, welfare rights assessments, occupational therapy assessments…

So you need to lighten the mood a little. A happy team is a productive team, and relating well to colleagues helps the work along and can give a fresh insight.

So after a spell of pop trivia, or of looking at pictures of children, grandchildren, pets, weddings and houses and holidays and fish caught and mountains climbed, it gives you a perspective on what life is all about, and what we should be helping people to achieve in their own lives.

So as well as saying goodbye to my team, I’ve said goodbye to my service users. Some I’ve known for 10 years. It’s great to see how people have blossomed. Some go out and about seeing friends, going to work, college, the gym, shopping, the pub, walking for pleasure or playing and watching sport.

There are two men who go dog walking together, they help an animal rescue centre, improve their health and have a great time talking about Dr Who. Inclusion has a long way to go, but it’s come a long way too.

So well done the CLDT, well done good teams everywhere, for lightening the load and getting the job done with friendship and good humour. Job’s a good ’un.
Jennifer Harvey is a carer. She still works with people with learning difficulties

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