It was a family tie that first bought Katie to Westall House, a 21 bed care home located in the leafy West Sussex village of Horsted Keynes.
Her mum, who is the chef, suggested she take on part-time work as a cleaner during the summer holidays and little did Katie know, this would be her first step towards a career in care.
After finishing school, Katie wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do so she took on the cleaning role full-time. She bonded amazingly well with the team at Westall and completed her NVQ in cleaning whilst on the job.
It was upon turning 18 when Katie was offered the chance to try a care role and, since then, she has never looked back. She has now worked at Westall House for over fifteen years.
“It’s fantastic to know that you are helping other people; you’re making their lives so much better and improving their quality of life. By having a conversation with someone whilst you’re helping them get washed and dressed, you can make their day,” Katie said.
“I always think, ‘how would I want somebody to treat my parents or my grandparents?’ so I keep that in my mind every day at work. It’s amazing to go home and know that you have made a person’s life more enjoyable.”
Katie is not only involved in the general day-to-day elements of care work but also Westall’s incredibly busy social calendar. Never a moment passes without there being a quiz or crossword session organised by their wonderful activities coordinator, but they also have regular ‘big’ events in the gardens or communal spaces.
“We had a jazz evening back in the summer with supper outside,” Katie said, “but we also have a fashion show with vintage clothes and a live singer. Oh, and a dog show, I’d never seen so many dogs in one place! The residents love it and I love helping out; it is fantastic to see the smiles on their faces.”
“The whole team here is like a family and everyone is here for each other, the residents too. We feel like a complete unit and we are all so fond of each other. I think it shows in the atmosphere within the house, and that’s something we get a lot of comments about from visitors.”