Hear from our staff

A positive place to work

We do everything we can to make Positive Futures a positive place to work because we believe that a happy and inclusive environment brings out the best in people. Sarah, who has just returned from maternity leave, explains:

We’ve all heard of family friendly policies, but what does a family friendly workplace look like?

Actions speak louder than words and, as a new parent, I’ve found that Positive Futures understood my needs and provided the support that made life so much easier. This enables me (and other new parents) to continue with their career while managing the challenges of family life.

So what made the difference?

Flexibility

When I returned to work after pregnancies, my manager was flexible, allowing me to work on my own terms with regard to hours and location.

Keeping in Touch

I used ‘Keeping in Touch’ days during my pregnancies and, as a result, I was able to use this time for a phased return to work. Keeping in Touch days are a great way of being part of things while on maternity leave.

Advice and Guidance

When it came to finding childcare, the guidance offered by Employers for Childcare was helpful. The Childcare Voucher scheme is a great benefit as it reduces the cost of childcare.

For me, Positive Futures is a truly family friendly workplace.

A Male Support Worker’s View

Liam Greaves, who works in our Lakeland Supported Living Service, tells us about his role as a Support Worker:

Before Positive Futures, I worked in a variety of industries including construction and hospitality and would never have imagined myself working in the care sector, and especially not enjoying it so much. I give my all in every job but this eagerness has previously gone unnoticed or unrewarded. Until I joined Positive Futures, I had never realised true job satisfaction.

My sister drew my attention to an advert in the local newspaper for a Support Worker with Positive Futures working with adults with a learning disability. I was reluctant to apply for the post as I had no previous experience in this kind of work. My sister was a social worker and believed my personality and naturally caring nature would be well suited to the role. So, I applied for the job and was lucky enough to be employed as a Relief Support Worker. Through hard work and a willingness to undertake any task, I soon got a full time role.

Since joining the Organisation, I have found that my ideas and opinions are welcomed. My work is appreciated by the people I support, my fellow staff and managers. This job allows me to form good working relationships with the people I support and in turn enables me to make a positive impact on their lives on a daily basis.

I am now going through my QCF Level 2 in health and social care course. I work alongside a staff team that have always been welcoming, friendly and extremely supportive – any problems or concerns I have can be taken to my Line Manager who is always happy to talk things through and assist me in any way he can.

I am now extremely happy in my working life – I have a job where I am appreciated, encouraged and supported to be the best I can be. In short, with Positive Futures, I have found a career I would be content to pursue for life.


An all–round positive career choice

Andrew has worked with our Sperrin Supported Living Service since March 2015 and says his time in the job has really opened his eyes to the difference Positive Futures makes in the community: 

“Since joining Positive Futures, it has been a very rewarding experience to support people in the ups and downs that their lives bring. Being part of projects like “The Life I Want” and helping create “My Perfect Week” has impressed on me how the organisation puts its values into practice to meet the needs of the people we support and ensure that outcomes are being achieved.

“Before joining Positive Futures I had mostly worked in a residential setting, but out in the community you can see a clear, positive difference in the way Positive Futures enables people to live as full a life as possible. Every day, we strive to make dreams and aspirations a reality.”

Having worked in the Service for just over a year, Andrew applied for a part–time post of Senior Support Worker in May 2016 and was successful.

He says: “I was delighted that I had the confidence to apply. But Positive Futures values everyone within its Services, including the staff. Creating two new part–time senior support roles reflects an organisation that is trying to actively develop and nurture the workforce it already has. Positive Futures provides a great environment for continued learning and professional development.”

Andrew pays tribute to the rest of the team in the Sperrin Service. “It’s a great team, and I have found everyone very supportive,” he says. “Positive Futures is an inspiring organisation to be part of, and the work is very rewarding.”


Proud to be part of an organisation that lives up to its name

Melissa Hanley, Support Worker with our Lakeland Family Support Service, tells us why she loves working for Positive Futures: 

When I was 10 years old, my family was blessed with the birth of my beautiful cousin Kalem. Kalem was the most affectionate little boy, even the thought of his face would make me smile on a rainy day. Sharing so many happy memories with him confirmed my vocation in life to provide opportunities for children with a learning disability like Kalem, so that they can reach their potential, and dare I say, exceed society’s expectations. Despite having Down’s Syndrome, Kalem’s achievements are endless because unconditional love, encouragement and opportunity surround him. 

After graduating from university, I was reading the local paper and came across a job advert for Positive Futures that instantly touched my heart. I was shortlisted for an interview so decided to research the organisation a little more. The mission statement and values were music to my ears. I craved this job and it did not disappoint. I love watching the people we support reach their goals, live their dreams and I am elevated when I witness their pride and joy as they learn to become more independent. Working with such an enthusiastic and committed team is energising. My passion feeds my persistence to overcome any road blocks that step in the way of delivering the best support.

After two years working in the best organisation I have ever been a part of, a post in New York flew into my path. With much apprehension and sadness, I decided to follow my dream to travel around America and take up the post. Little did I know that this bittersweet decision was not the end of my contact with Positive Futures for me. During the three years I spent in New York, I kept in contact with the many friends I made while working in Positive Futures. I even had the pleasure of catching up with one girl and her partner when they visited the Big Apple. A few months before the expiration of my visa, the gates to my dream job with Positive Futures opened again. The organisation accommodated me and I had an interview 3,103 miles from home via Skype. Flying home from a country I grew to love and friends who became my America family wasn’t as bad as I had expected knowing I was returning Positive Futures.

Today, I am confident and content in my new post in Positive Futures. The logo may have been updated but the ethos is still geared at putting those we support at the centre so they can achieve their dreams and live full and valued lives. I love making a difference in the lives of not only those I support but their whole families too. There is no better feeling than really getting to know someone, discovering their likes and dislikes, their hopes and dreams and supporting them to live these dreams, taking evaluated risks, unearthing new talents, watching challenging behaviour curtail and seeing those we support empowered, not just settling for a life they can struggle through but recognising the life they want and sharing their delight when they achieve this! 

I am proud to be part of an organisation that lives up to its name. Positive Futures transforms the lives of those we support, allowing them to be optimistic about their future. I urge anyone who shares my desire to make a positive change in the lives of those with a learning disability, acquired brain injury or autistic spectrum condition to check out the job vacancies within all of Positive Futures’ services across Northern Ireland. Enjoy a happy and rewarding life by helping truly inspiring people to live their life.