This month we’re celebrating Martin’s 10-year work anniversary as a support worker at Step One Charity. Martin has dedicated his career to supporting people in our local community, and he has made a significant impact on the lives of those he has worked with. In this Q&A, we learn more about Martin’s journey with Step One, his favourite memories to date, and what motivates him to continue his work.
Martin’s journey to Step One
Martin began his career as a support worker in 1989, working for the NHS day services. In 1991, the Community Care Trust based in South Devon took over the day services, and Martin continued his work there. In 2017, the Community Care Trust and St Loye’s Foundation merged and rebranded as Step One Charity, and Martin became a full-fledged Step One employee!
Martin has worked in all areas of Step One Charity apart from Cypress Hospital. He has fond memories of his time with the organisation, including one time when he took 30 people on a coach trip all by himself! He says, “It was all good fun and I’ve met some really nice people along the way”.
What initially attracted you to pursue a career as a support worker and how has that initial attraction evolved over the years?
Martin: The same thing as it’s always been which is that I just like assisting people and seeing them grow. It really is rewarding. This is still true for me today.
What does your typical day look like as a support worker at Step One?
Martin: Meeting some really nice people and assisting them with day-to-day things. Trying to make their lives run a little bit more smoothly. I enjoy both supporting people in our supported houses and in the community as well. It’s a nice balance.
Can you share a memorable moment or achievement from your time as a support worker that stands out to you?
Martin: There’s just too many to say – a lot of them have faded into time and memory! For some people, the support is just enough that they can find peace in their lives. Now and again, you’ll bump into people you knew a long time ago and it’s really nice catching up and seeing how people have grown and progressed. In the past I’ve supported people that have become social workers and mental health nurses. Having lived experience isn’t a negative – you can turn it around and use it as a positive.
How have you grown both personally and professionally during your time at Step One Charity?
Martin: I’ve grown older if not wiser. (I’d like to hope so!)
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working for Step One over the years?
Martin: Seeing the people that I support improve in their lives.
Can you describe a project or initiative that you're particularly proud to have been a part of during your time as a support worker?
Martin: The project I think I’m most proud of was when we went on trips to Finlake. Peer support really took off and we had about 20/30 people attending. Many people who participated also took on roles to support others such as assisting with transportation. I could really see how important peer support was and that loneliness can sometimes be overlooked. People need to have other humans around that they can relate to, and having other people around for a few hours in the day can be really helpful. It’s simple intervention but really important. Sometimes simple is good.
What motivates and inspires you to continue working for Step One Charity?
Martin: Meeting people, assisting people and enjoying that line of work. It’s very rewarding.
Are there any colleagues or mentors who have played a significant role in your journey with Step One Charity? How have they influenced you?
Martin: Oh dozens! I have fond memories and have met some really nice people. Past and present, staff here are lovely. I don’t think you would meet such nice, kind, generous people unless you worked in this field of work!
What do you like most about working at Step One?
Martin: It’s good for the soul. Flexible working, the management team are really accommodating, and it’s just a really nice friendly place to work.
What advice would you give to people considering a career as a support worker based on your experience?
Martin: Just go for it. Be kind, and be kind to yourself, and always remember that relationships are the most important things in our lives. Hold the hope for others and then you’ll hold the hope for yourself.