Mar 27, 2014
A caring support worker from Reading, who overcame his own health and personal challenges to help others, has been recognised with a national award.
John Russell, 51, won Care UK’s Chief Executive’s Award. This is the first award of its kind from the independent health and social care provider. All nominees are previous national award recipients, making John a winner among winners.
As a mental health support worker at Rosebank House - a community-based hospital - John’s role involves helping people with daily activities, from getting ready in the morning and making sure they take their medication, to assisting with daily living skills such as cooking, tidying and trips into the community.
John himself suffers from cerebral palsy, which reduces his mobility, and he has a stammer which affects his confidence. Since joining Care UK 10 years ago, John has not only been a great support for service users, but his own confidence has also developed through supporting others.
John, who lives in Caversham with wife Melanie, says: “Having my own obstacles helps me appreciate what our service users are going through. The people I support have a range of challenges, from learning difficulties to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
“A key part of my role is clear communication, and this has really helped me with my stammer. The physical aspect of my role, such as helping service users get around, has made me manage my own condition better. I need to be careful of tripping and stumbling, and I’ve learnt to do this so that it doesn’t affect my life, or my work. So in a way, I am helping others and helping myself at the same time.”
John’s caring side also extends to his charitable work. He has ran sponsored half-marathons and even skydived out of an aeroplane – twice - in aid of the British Stammering Association, a cause close to his heart. John has so far raised nearly £1000 for the cause.
In a further bid to overcome his speech difficulties, John has joined Toastmasters International and often talks to audiences about his stammer.
Steve Reader, Director of Recovery Services, started John on his Care UK pathway. He said: “When I interviewed John I saw someone with the courage and determination to overcome his own personal challenges. I thought these qualities were a firm foundation for a support worker.”
His ‘can do’ attitude and supportive nature earned John the Managing Director’s Award at Care UK’s Celebrating Success Mental Health Awards in 2013. This in turn led to his Chief Executive’s Award win.
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