• Sun. Apr 14th, 2024

North East Connected

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Local care home worker becomes role model for children with special needs

Paul Martin, an Activities Coordinator from Ashlea Mews Care Home in South Shields, Tyne & Wear, has recently been recognised as a role model within his local community for his continuous commitment and dedication to disabled children and adults.

Paul’s passion to fight for inclusivity and equality for all stems from his own disability and battle with being partially blind. Despite this challenge, Paul has built a long-standing career within the care sector and has over 15 year’s experience at Orchard Care Homes residences across the North East region, and in particular Sunderland.

With the support of Shaw Trust, a charitable organisation committed to finding employment for disabled people, Paul first entered the healthcare sector and from then on, he developed a deep-rooted desire to help those less able.

His latest partnership with Epinay School in Jarrow has enabled Paul to develop relationships between the students and residents at Ashlea Mews through Zoom calls, with storytelling and performances from the school choir. Epinay caters for up to 215 children and young people from 4–19 years of age with a wide range of special educational and complex needs, including Paul’s own son who is autistic. In addition to the school’s involvement with residents, Paul is also hoping to become a regular participant during the school assemblies where he can talk to pupils about how disabilities don’t have to hold you back. His first visit to Epinay is due to take place during National Disability History Month (18th November – 20th December) and he is looking forward to talking about how he carries out his job with his disability and how the students can be role models for other children with disabilities.

Mr David Meikle, a Humanities teacher at Epinay School, has seen first-hand the positive impact that Paul’s experience and expertise bring to the students. As well as teaching Paul’s son, David also arranges weekly SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) assemblies, including ‘The International Day of People with Disabilities’ assembly where Paul will discuss how he has never let his disabilities stop him from achieving his goals.

David said, “We share a similar passion for ensuring people with disabilities have the right to achieve their true potential and it is wonderful to be able to offer a positive role model to our students. With Paul’s help, we hope to set up more community events and encourage our students to visit care homes in the local community to sing and read stories, once COVID-19 regulations allow it.”

In addition to his continuous work with local schools, Paul has also dedicated over seven years to coaching disabled children and adults at South Tyneside Ability FC and has more recently taken up the role of Liaison Officer where he appeals to organisations such as Orchard Care Homes, for donations to purchase pop-up goals and sponge footballs. His work with the football team inspires many of the activities he hosts at Ashlea Mews including the residents favourite game – balloon tennis. Mental stimulation is a key driver behind these activities as interaction with new people and objects can have a wide range of benefits for those with a variety of different needs.

Vicki Yeoman, Home Manager at Ashlea Mews, reflected on Paul’s devotion saying, “Throughout his time with us, Paul has developed an enviable reputation for going above and beyond the call of duty and has demonstrated deep empathy for the residents he cares for.

His enthusiasm and energy gives both staff and residents a new lease of life and his contagious passion to support those with disabilities have allowed the home to build established relationships with the local community. Having such a strong local network means we are able to give the best care possible to each resident in our care.”

Part of Orchard Care Homes’ portfolio of residences situated across the North of England and the Midlands, Ashlea Mews offers specialist respite, dementia and residential care for the elderly. Quality of care and invigorating best practice is at the forefront of Orchard Care Homes’ strategy. The group’s impressive record demonstrates the highest quality of care it provides its residents, with 88.5% of its homes now rated ‘Good’.

By admin