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Change of career lands awards for Gloucestershire carers

DoCare"WHEN former door steward Simon Algar swapped security for support work, little did he think he’d be landing his company’s top award.

Simon, 29, joined the Cheltenham team with Stroud-based homecare provider DoCare two years ago and has been named Support Worker of the Year at the company’s annual ceremony.

His colleague Rachel Ritchings, 28, joined DoCare’s Cirencester team in 2014 and was named Care Newcomer of the Year.

Simon, from Cheltenham, said: “I’d been working in security but didn’t want to go back to that, partly because of the unsociable hours. A friend of mine suggested homecare, so I thought I’d give it a go.

“I didn’t know whether it would be for me or not, but I really love going out and meeting people, and hearing the clients’ stories. One of them who sadly passed away recently was a Liverpool fan, and I support Manchester United, so we used to chat about football and I’d play football with his grandchildren.

“It didn’t seem strange for me, as a man, to be doing this role – I compare it to having male nurses – and the clients seem to have been happy with me. Even when I’ve visited one or two who have said they prefer women support workers, they’ve turned out to like me.”

Rachel, from Kemble, switched to care from a career as a beauty therapist. She said: “I wish I had done it years ago. I love DoCare and I love being able to make a difference. We see some quite poorly people, and to see their faces light up when we visit is a joy.”

DoCare director Una Mills said: “Simon is a natural when it comes to care. He goes above and beyond, he goes that extra mile. As one of our clients commented ‘when Simon’s been to visit Dad he’s on a high’. Simon even goes to the trouble of picking up a takeaway for one client, who loves them but couldn’t otherwise get out to get them easily.”

Simon, Rachel and a number of their DoCare colleagues will now be put forward for the Great British Care Awards South West."

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