Eighteen months in, the success that This is Me has had has been amazing. With over fifteen clients and support workers and more on the horizon, it was more important than ever for Michelle to get some extra help, if only to save her sanity! After a (thankfully) short search, she was lucky enough to find Clare McKee-Shell who was looking for a change and ready for a new challenge.
With a fantastically diverse employment history and a positive attitude, having Clare on board over the last few weeks has brought a breath of fresh air to the office and re-invigorated Michelle. While being your own boss and running your own business has its perks, it’s also nice to know that you don’t have to do it all alone either!
A mam of two, Clare has always looked for ways to challenge herself but also to find work that she enjoys. Starting off in administration she spent a lot of time temping, using the opportunity to learn new skills and adapt to different workplaces. From there she fell into purchasing and was a buyer for a pharmaceutical company and then a clothing company. Taking time off to look after her children when they came along was lovely but Clare did feel like she needed something more and decided to train as a beauty therapist, working in a self-employed capacity, managing her schedule around her children.
As the children got older, Clare felt she needed a new challenge in a different direction and started studying psychology and counselling. While volunteering for the NSPCC and working as a link worker for Mental Health Concern, she had a lightbulb moment and realised that helping people get the support they need and seeing them flourish was exactly where she wanted to be.
In her most recent job working as a Social Prescribing Navigator for the NHS, she’s loving being able to help people but has missed the opportunity to build relationships with patients and support them on an ongoing basis. Being a part of This is Me will give her the chance to do just that and allow her to balance her time more evenly between work and family and get back into running (even in this weather!).
When Clare met Michelle, she was drawn in by her passion for the work she’s doing. It’s not just a way to pay the bills, she is invested in every single client and shares all of their highs and lows. But Clare could also see that as the business was growing, Michelle needed a bit of help. At the minute Clare is working to assist with the admin (previous experience coming in handy!) and learning all of the ins and outs of Access to Work. There is quite a lot of paperwork and red tape involved and everything needs to be just right or the application could be rejected or delayed, both outcomes that can have a detrimental effect on the client.
Prior to taking on the role for This is Me, Clare had heard of Access to Work but wasn’t fully sure exactly what it was or what it entailed. Having now seen it first-hand she’s been quite surprised that it’s not more widely known about. The support it’s bringing to the people who need it is invaluable and life-changing in many cases. Clare knows what it’s like dealing with a disability or a long-term illness as her husband suffered a brain haemorrhage twelve years ago, so is aware of the struggles that can be faced by simply getting through life never mind trying to work at the same time. Having extra help really can make all the difference.
Looking to the future Clare has no expectations. She’s loving the challenge of learning the behind the scenes work and can’t wait to start working with clients as a support worker. Being able not only to get them started, but to follow through the process and continue to provide support so that they can really thrive is what matters most. If doing all of that takes some of the pressure off Michelle’s shoulders well that’s just a bonus!
Welcome to the team Clare!