Person Centred Development Worker, Adult Services Department
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My name is Shireen, I am a Person Centred Development Worker and I work with people who have learning and physical disabilities. I also work with black and ethnic minorities, with the probation service and Winchester Prison.
What we are trying to imbed within these organizations is the empowerment of people to work to have their person centred plans so they will be able to run their own lives and make decisions about their own lives and not have it taken over by service providers.
The training that we have to do is to teach people about person centred planning and the tools that are used to enable the plans to occur. I have had to go around organizations and this is the first time I have had to stand up in front of large crowds of people and to train them, and to teach them about a concept, which is an absolute horror for me! But the more I do it the more I'm getting used to it and I didn't believe I could attain such skills, and I feel a lot more confident doing it now.
One of the funniest things I found was when I was given the task that I have to do, which was working with Black and Ethnic Minorities, that the research found that there was only 1% in the county. I hadn't actually realized but I was that 1%!
That was something I had never felt when I had lived in London because it is such a multi-cultural city, you don't feel in a minority, but here I do, and I felt quite isolated when I discovered this.
Some people would stare at me when I was in the queue to get the shopping and I would look over and be quite aware that I was a novel aspect in their small town - I would probably have represented the black person.
I have a really good team that I work with which is a very diverse team, as well, someone from Nepal and another lady is from France, I am enjoying working with them and am getting a lot of support with them as well.
The difficulty working around learning and physical disabilities, is that they still see it as a taboo and they are not able to come forward and talk about it because they haven’t actually accepted it themselves. They haven’t accepted that their children have these disabilities.
So it is very hard to find the 1% and then it was hard to get these people to come forward because they didn't want to recognize that was happening in their family unit.
When I went to apply for a job in Hampshire County Council I didn't dream I would be able to get it, let alone now I am writing policies and procedures that will help cultivate a sustained change in the Hampshire county and it has made me feel enough confidence to go and do an MSc in Developmental Studies.
It is definitely scary but it is most definitely worth it.