A-mazey-ing support helps people step outside their comfort zone
Mazey works as a Support Worker with Social Link, a charity for adults with learning disabilities in Buckinghamshire. She is autistic and has used her life experiences to help others as part of her role, responding calmly and with great understanding to each group member’s individual feelings.
Her colleagues have expressed how Mazey makes those she supports feel at ease:
“Mazey brings a relaxed peace into a group of members that can have high anxiety and levels of stress, with the group responding to Mazey’s welcoming and calming nature. She is funny, helpful and generous with her time and her skills. Nothing is too much of an ask for Mazey.”
“I just really love my job, and I really love seeing the group members I work with grow in confidence and gain new skills”, says Mazey.
One of the things Mazey is most passionate about is helping the people she supports grow in confidence and learn new skills. One of her suggestions was taking the group to “Hazard Alley” a centre for learning in a safe environment about every day hazards such as crossing the road, what to do in case of a fire and avoiding dangerous situations.
It has been described by Mazey’s colleagues as “one of our best sessions, with group members still talking about it months on, eager to demonstrate what they learned.”
Mazey herself says: “I really look forward to when I work with The Independence Group. My role in the group is try and encourage members to try new things and activities, things that may take them a little out of their comfort zone at first but once they have tried this something new, it is awesome to see people overcome challenges.
“By far my favourite part of the job is watching the group members try new things and grow in confidence and gain new skills.”
Leading by example
Mazey’s willingness to learn and be a role model for others is a focus of her colleagues’ praise: “Mazey is constant in her encouragement of others to achieve the best that they can, and for any successes to be rewarded and praised. And not just amongst the group members, but with fellow leaders and support workers too.”
Having autism herself, Mazey is also challenged by new situations and changes in routine. However, she has shown real strength in her ability to overcome these obstacles in her work as a support worker, and her group members respond to and mimic Mazey’s responses, which has led them to grow in confidence and try new things themselves.
Wendy Dunn, the CEO of Social Link, said:
“Mazey is an inspiration to others. She has had to overcome her own challenges as part of her role within Social Link to ensure that the members are fully supported with the challenges they each face. She is somebody that our members love to spend time with. It would be great for Mazey to get recognition beyond our organisation. “
Mazey herself continues to love her job and wants to encourage other people with autism to get involved in this field.
Mazey offers this advice:
“Definitely start as a volunteer and see if it is for you. And if it isn’t for you, that’s cool too as there are loads of other ways you can support other people with autism.
“But definitely start out volunteering and don’t give up, stick with it and keep showing up. Show you are willing and try and come up with some new ideas of your own and suggest them to the other staff. It isn’t always easy and it has its challenges but it is really worth it.”
How does it feel to be a Learning Disability and Autism Leader?
“I guess when you are working, you don’t really see all the little things you do and how much of an impact it has on the people around it. I love what I do, it doesn’t feel like work.”