Why I love my job – Catherine Cowans

My job involves giving information, advice and setting up direct
payments for people assessed as requiring a community care service.
I mostly work with carers who have had an assessment in their own
right, to give them a break from caring.

When I started my job in October 2002 the team only had three
staff. Since then the team has grown to cover demand from people
who want to use direct payments. Now there are seven of us.

The good thing about working in a team is there’s always someone
to bounce ideas and problems off, to ask for advice and lend a
listening ear.

My referrals usually come from three dedicated social workers
from our carers project. I cover all of the County Durham area. I
occasionally get to know the client well – it depends on how much
support they need to manage the direct payment.

The best bits about my job are meeting such a diverse client
group and feeling I make a difference to a person’s quality of
life. Direct payments offer flexibility on how someone’s needs are
met and can mean a vast difference to their lives.

The job is interesting, there are never two days the same.
Another bonus to my job is that our office is in the lodge house at
the Miners’ Hall in Durham. The grounds are beautiful, especially
in the summer and you can park easily. But the job is

The worst bit about my job is the paperwork and the constantly
ringing telephone. There has also been a lot of change lately.
Direct payments have moved away from service development to be part
of mainstream social care and health. The changes are beneficial,
there need to be robust systems in place. Changes to finance have
meant extra work for all of the team.

If I was advising someone starting the job, I’d suggest being
ready for a challenge.


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