Kerry, Deputy Manager in North Yorkshire for Walsingham Support, has been in her role for 10 months now and has clearly made a promising start. She has recently been promoted to Quality & Projects Officer for Northern England.

The role of Quality & Projects Officer is to support improvements in our services based in Northern England, to include Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Doncaster by performing quality audits and providing support to our local staff. This will support managers to improve outcomes for the people we support and their families. We also want Walsingham Support to be a great place for staff, where you are proud to work and where you can achieve your full potential. We attract and retain the best people through professional development and Kerry is a shining example of this with her friendly professionalism, combined with a ‘can-do’ attitude and a passion for supporting people. In fact, Kerry was recently runner up at Walsingham Support’s 2019 Employee Awards for her role in Community Engagement. Nominated by Laura, North Yorkshire Regional Director, for the work she has helped set up with the Stephen Joseph Theatre. As well as the support she has provided to Peter, a person we support, with his upcoming play which will be held at the theatre in Scarborough (more on this shortly!).

We asked Kerry a few questions on the knowledge she will bring to the role and how, having worked as Deputy Manager, she will support those based in Middlesbrough and Scarborough and also a new area to us, Doncaster, where we recently starting to support 37 people with disabilities across 9 locations. Kerry’s knowledge and experience will support all the new staff who have joined us recently to help them find their feet and flourish.

Why did you apply for the role?

I applied for the role to challenge myself. I have been working within this kind of role (Deputy Manager) for a number of years and wanted a change that would teach me new skills but still within Walsingham Support.

What do you think you will bring to this new role?

My knowledge and experience. I’ve been in Learning & Development and mental health for 12 years in various roles, so I think my 12 years’ experience will bring a great deal to this role. Over the years I’ve learned the best practice; understanding that everything changes and that nothing stays the same.

From a character point of view, I’m proactive, and I always find a way to make sure something happens. I have a can-do attitude rather than can’t and I like to get things done. I’m all about empowering people’s strengths and supporting their weaknesses. I don’t like to point out people’s faults, rather I prefer to point out how to make things better.

Misha, Quality & Policy Manager, says: “When Kerry interviewed it was clear she had passion. I think that the quality team and the North East can use her energy and commitment to help us improve what they already do.”

How do you think your job transition will impact the people we support?

My role is to note what could be improved, and nudge managers forward. In a field of ever-changing social care, managers must learn how to develop with the times, I hope I can help with that. I will see them every month and I can share ideas on the best practice both internally and externally to help everyone. What the quality team wants is fantastic support for the people we support – but all of that learning and implementing takes time. I will be meeting people we support as I audit, and I hope they will be glad to see my passion and energy. I just do what I love.

How will the role support Doncaster and benefit others?

The new team in Doncaster will have a go-to person to speak to that knows the ‘Walsingham Support Way’. I plan to reassure the management team and staff that positive progress can be made. Transitioning from one provider naturally brings anxiety and the need to learn new things but as a team, we are there to help at every step along the way. I want to create an upbeat atmosphere within the workplace where staff look forward to my visits and the constructive outcome that can come from these visits – we’ll be looking into ways in which each service can be improved for the benefit of both staff and the people we support.

From a more individual point of view, working together with Liz (the other Northern Region Quality & Projects Officer) will mean less travel for her and more opportunity to work collaboratively as a team. This, in turn, should reduce Liz’s workload so that she has more time to focus on other responsibilities that the job entails.

“The management team and staff in Doncaster have come from a very different environment – that of the NHS. Things are very different between the healthcare model and the social care model. Kerry, in particular, can help with the understanding of supported living and the systems behind this. She has successfully handled her first CQC visit like a pro and can share what she has learned with the new teams in Doncaster. It can be strange when services change, and Kerry can be a reassurance and give the new staff all the top tips so that they can positively learn from her experience,” says Misha.

What are you most looking forward to in the new role?

I am excited to take on a new adventure and a new challenge, it is different to anything I have ever done. I have always assisted in managing services but going into a quality role is different. It's exciting.

I am also looking forward to getting to meet new people who work at Walsingham Support. I cannot wait to be part of the quality team. Everyone has been so welcoming already. It is nice to see how the services are different between all 3 locations that I have been to and I look forward to working with people to ensure that the best practices are promoted across the board and that everyone is working to the best of their ability. I want them to see it as a positive because I really want to help and support teams to ensure we are providing the best possible service for the people we support. In short, I want to get the best outcome!

Kerry started the new role last week and is thoroughly enjoying it! We wish Kerry, the best of luck!