I joined Ordinary Lifestyles in 1995 – I was the first employee! At that time, the families who set up the organisation were meeting together to plan how their sons and daughters could stay living in their own local communities, in their own homes, with support from their own staff. Having just completed my Social Work Diploma at MMU, I saw an advert they had placed in the Manchester Evening News for a Development Worker. I was very interested – and delighted when they offered me the job!
Things were very different in those early days, as we still did not have funding for people to move out of their family homes. I worked alongside Clare Dalton (Keith’s mum) and the other parents, helping them plan the new service, write policies, apply for charity registration etc. Everything changed once we were finally awarded funding to run our first service, supporting 2 men in Harpurhey, in 1997.
I now work as Training Manager, and also line manage the services we provide to people who still live with their families. I love my job, and feel proud of what we have achieved over the years, growing as an organisation but hopefully staying true to the values and vision we started out with.
I left Ordinary Lifestyles in 2005, when I was expecting my son. I had a big leaving do at Corpus Christi Social Centre on Varley Street. Maggie made a speech and I was presented with some lovely gifts. Then in 2013, circumstances for me and Ordinary Lifestyles combined, with the result that I was able to return! So if I ever leave again (which I’m not planning to), I can’t have another leaving do – because I’ve already had one.