Kindness. It’s that essential quality that all our Care Support Workers have, and the friendly and warm Sue Ireland, who recently joined the Crossroads team as Adult and Caring Café Lead, has it in spades.
Sitting behind a desk all day was never going to be for Sue whose new post with Crossroads Care brings together a wealth of care experience gained over the course of a long career.
‘I love my job because I like being with people – all those different personalities. I enjoy being of help and building a rapport with people. When I’m at the Caring Café, what makes me happy is when the visitors are happy. Mission accomplished, I think, which is such a good feeling.
‘And at Crossroads, there’s such great opportunities for learning. The organisation really does invest a lot of time and effort into training staff and supporting us.’
As well as going out to meet Carers and their cared-for in the community to assess their needs and supporting the team of volunteers and paid care support staff, Sue also runs the Caring Café which takes place on the first and third Saturday of every month in Sheen, for Carers and the people that they care for.
Along with the dedicated team, Sue puts on a delicious lunch for visitors as well as thinking up and organising all the wonderful activities to occupy the cared-for while Carers attend the Crossroads Care support group for signposting and advice. It’s also a place where Carers can support one another through the dementia journey.
When Sue began her career, it was hairdressing that she initially went into. After studying it at the London College of Fashion, she began styling at salons for a decade until her two children came along when she then found the hours difficult. That’s when caring first caught Sue’s attention due to its flexible hours.
‘Caring is all about being practical and kind, and I thought I’ll give it a go,’ says Sue. She worked as a Care Support Worker for a decade before specialising in footcare for two years.
Cutting toenails and filing off hard skin may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but Sue says: ‘I’m not squeamish about anything really – caring is all about empathy and making people feel comfortable.’
Having joined Crossroads in April 2022, Sue has already had many special moments with Carers and their cared-for.
‘I’ve shared lots of laughs with Carers at the café and with clients during home visits,’ says Sue. ‘But one moment really stands out for me. It was when I was visiting a man with dementia at his home. We were talking about music and he recalled the name of a musician that he liked. He was so proud and the look on his face was delightful.’