Despite her background in horticulture, a yearning to care for people inspired Carmen Jones to apply for a care job at Connors House Residential Care Home in Canterbury.
“I have always worked with people and I love the interaction, but I decided I wanted to really help people, rather than just interacting with them, so I chose to do my level three qualification and try a career in care,” says Carmen, a flexi carer at Connors House. “The course required some work experience, so I applied for a job here in September 2018 and by October, I was starting work.
“Taking the job here was definitely the best decision I’ve made in my career so far; it is just so rewarding. The days can be long but it’s wonderful to get to know the residents, I think creating relationships is so important. There is a lot of loneliness in the world and if you can help someone, it makes such a difference and of course makes you happier too.
“In my spare time I like to volunteer with the residents, whether that’s coming in on a Saturday to help with the gardening club or assisting on days out. The gardening club, which is run by a resident’s family member, is really blooming, we’ve been growing all sorts of things including herbs and pumpkins, which are being used in the kitchen and that’s just wonderful.
“I think in the early days of starting work here I doubted myself a lot, but my self-confidence has improved massively, I think if you’re caring and it’s in your nature, you can do this job. We are a team here and I really feel that – I don’t think I could do this job alone – I know if I’m not sure about something, I can ask someone, and they are always happy to help. My family live quite far away and so it’s like having my own second family here, the environment is so supportive. Meeting so many committed people is inspiring and motivating too.