Social care workers don’t stop helping disabled children at Christmas

Social care worker Lucy Durnin. Photo: Oxfordshire County Council NNL-181221-111559001
Social care worker Lucy Durnin. Photo: Oxfordshire County Council NNL-181221-111559001

When it comes to working over Christmas people often think of firefighters, police officers or doctors and nurses.

But did you know that social care workers, like 27-year-old Lucy Durnin from Banbury, whose jobs involves caring for children with disabilities also often work over the festive period?

Lucy has worked many a Christmas Day – helping a child with a disability get dressed, supporting them to eat and assisting in getting ready for a special event and an exciting day ahead.

Indeed her job is one that routinely involves working unsocial hours – but that is part of why she loves it.

“I have the best job in the world. I get to go in and support people of crisis but also at great points of positivity in their lives and it is very rewarding.

“The small moments, smiles and laughter can be rewarding,” she said.

Lucy joined Oxfordshire County Council as an apprentice 11 years ago and has been in her current role for four years.

The children’s social care team has an annual budget of £78m and cares for almost 800 children who need that care for a variety of reasons.

Lucy said: “To communicate with children who cannot talk we often use text, pictures, objects of reference or sign language – but the little sounds they can make are just as important as observing their expressions and body language.

“Gradually we are able to give children a measure of independence. Many of them have very little of that because they depend so much on people. It can even be something simple like letting them decide what clothes they are going to wear that day.

“Those moments of joy are priceless – that is why I have the best job even though if often involves working when most other people are at home with their own families.

Director for children’s services Lucy Butler said: “We’re proud of Lucy and the team she works in.

“They are true unsung heroes – but they are not unsung at the county council or by the families they help.

“We know how hard they work and how expert they are at giving a child a good start in life and becoming part and parcel of a family’s life.

“They truly are experts in their field and we value the contribution they make to Oxfordshire life.”