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13 years of support

13 years ago Kathryn started working at Dimensions, and she hasn’t looked back. Assistant Locality Manager Kathryn Larsen, 32, who works in Bracknell, has spent over a decade helping change the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism.

This story was feature on In Your Area on 4 November

Kathryn at Disneyland Paris with Karen who she supports

Kathryn tried several different jobs before discovering her passion. She wanted to help people and make a difference but struggled to find something that suited her so she decided to do a college course in health and social care.

Over the years Kathryn has developed close bonds with the people she supports, such as Saviya. When they first started working together, Saviya needed live-in, 24-hour support. However, with the help of Kathryn and the rest of the support team, Saviya has been able to build up her independence – her support has been reduced to just a few hours a week. Last week, she married her partner Carl.

Saviya and her husband Carl

Kathryn said: “All the years I’ve known Sav, it has been her dream to settle down with someone she loves and who loves her back. To see how much she has progressed over this time is heart-warming, I’m so happy for her and Carl.”

Kathryn has many fond memories of working in social care, one of which was a trip to Disneyland Paris. She took a group of ladies that she supported to see the sites and go on rides. “For some of the people we support, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and they were just beaming the whole time.”

Julie, who Kathryn supports, at Disneyland Paris

Kathryn has been working throughout the pandemic, and despite the challenges she has remained positive. She said: “The people we support have actually coped really well, probably better than me at times. The support staff have been really imaginative and have come up with different activities to keep them entertained and occupied, like baking and games.”

Kathryn feels that one positive to come out of the pandemic is that it has opened society’s eyes to the importance of social care. She said: “At the beginning of the pandemic I feel that we were a bit forgotten about. It’s taken a long time for us to be valued, but I think that now people are starting to recognise that social care work is on the frontline and without us, people wouldn’t get the help and support they need.”