Sue has been a carer with Kemble for 9 years now. She shares with us what she enjoys about her role and how although she started out working in a completely different career, the common thread of being with people has always remained at the heart of what she loves about her work.
In 2011, Sue decided that she wanted a fresh start and hoped to do something completely different. She had been working in the pub industry with her husband and was wanting to take a break from it. Having trained as a chef and worked running her own pub business, she was keen to have a complete change. Something about an advert for Kemble caught her eye and Sue went to meet Sharon King, the founder of Kemble at Home and Peter King her son who ran the business; back when the Kemble office was in Broad Street in Hereford. She says that she hasn’t looked back since and continues to love her work as a visiting carer.
Sue sees that she is there to help people along and not take over. She recognises that each person values their independence and really want to stay in their own home. There are a variety of tasks to do each day ranging from cleaning windows, personal care – in all degrees, preparing meals, nipping to the shop and get a paper or pulling out a few weeds up by the front door. It completely depends on what people want. Sue recalls that recently one lady didn’t want to eat lunch, she never touched her ham sandwich, so Sue washed some strawberries and added some ice-cream for her and she ate it all up.
“You have to love people, there’s no point applying if you don’t love people. It’s not just sitting there having a cup of tea – you have to be good at noticing when something needs doing – getting stuck in. Use your initiative and go about things in the right way.”
Sue had the opportunity to work as a Kemble trainer and also training the trainer. She says that she loved it as she particularly liked getting to know new carers; helping them to understand the job. “I especially enjoyed working with those people who wanted to care but hadn’t been a carer previously” Maybe because she can relate to them and sees the many skills are transferable. People skills are vital. Sue says it is all about being polite to people and comes down to manners and respect. “What comes around, goes around. If you are polite to others, others are polite to you”
Sue points out that the carers are Kemble, they are the ones getting on and doing the job. She likes working as part of a team and always gives out her phone number so that other carers can contact her if they need anything. Quite often carers work alone and this support from others is hugely important. She is always happy to help and willing to support.
Sue particularly likes having a regular schedule with regular clients.
“I’ve been going to these people for 8 years, people like routine, you know who you can joke with and who you can’t. You get used to them and they are more like friends.”
Her favourite part is the social part. Talking and listening to people and listening to what people have done in their lives makes the job special. The stories she hears and the people that she has got to know makes the job hugely rewarding. One of the people she supports is 102 years old, she was born in 1920. She is really happy talking about the past and has a wealth of stories and memories despite her dementia. Sue loves hearing all about her life, particularly her time as a young woman during the war.
Sue loves the on-going training that Kemble offers to all carers. She can appreciate the standard of the training from her previous role and likes that there are refresher training days and new courses to keep up to date with skills and information.
She knows that the office staff will help and speaks highly of her Team Manager. “Sarah will go out and find a solution or a link/app to find out some information.”
And Sue likes that Kemble continues to be a family run company. “I’d always want to come back – they’ve been good to me” she says.
Sue still likes to go to the pub and enjoys being on the other side of the bar. She enjoys going to concerts including ACDC, The Killers, and Kings of Lyon. She has a large family mostly living in the South and loves getting together with her 4 children, 10 grandchildren, 2 great grandsons and another on the way.
She likes to read and cook, although admits it is not the same cooking just for 2, she prefers to cook for the whole family. She has a sweet tooth and would prefer to go for two puddings!
“By rights I should be retiring but it works well for me!” Sue laughs. We are very fortunate to have had Sue working with Kemble for so long and she has been rightly recognised as a Kemble Award winner this year. She was nominated in 2022 by clients and carers alike for “Always Willing to Help”.