Cerece Gardner has recently become Service Manager of Cheam Road, having previously gained experience in the social care sector as a Support Worker, progressing to Deputy Manager of another service, before joining the team at Cheam Road.
We asked Cerece about the best parts of her job and why she originally chose a career in social care. She told us, “I’ve always had a passion for making a difference. My mum was a manager of a care home and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I’m excited about developing my skills as a Registered Manager and to promote independence in the service.
“It’s a very rewarding job – seeing the difference I’m making and being part of a team that promotes independence. I’ve previously supported someone from supported living into their own personal home and it was a successful transition.”
At Cheam Road, people are supported to identify and take part in meaningful activities that develop social, communication and life skills. These range from support in daily life skills and leisure activities such as shopping and household chores through to college placements, voluntary work experience, paid work placements and social and leisure activities.
Examples of activities people have participated in include gym sessions, Zumba, yoga and aqua aerobics, trips to the pub, activity clubs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, meals out, shopping and trips to the cinema.
Cerece said that what inspires her to keep going is seeing the people we support making positive steps to independence and growing their life skills. She encourages people to try new activities, ensuring goals are ‘smart goals’, such as becoming more independent with medication or finance, or out in the community. She stated, “Seeing progress is very rewarding!”
Cerece believes Cheam Road reflects Achieve together’s values: “Every day the people we support are making their own choices, being brave in their decisions and outcomes, such as choosing meals, and making health choices such as not smoking or a having a balanced diet. Weekly Covid-19 testing and adhering to the government guidelines is also brave.
“We engage with the Stay up Late events with other Achieve together homes, having fun by participating in events, karaoke, dancing, and socialising. We make things happen by being pro-active with health such as losing weight or planning and following a balanced meal planner. We value everyone by respecting choices and encouraging independence for all.”
We asked Cerece what she is most proud of. She said, “I’m proud of the role I’m currently in – becoming a manager of my own service makes me proud, as I’ve not long started my management journey.
“My mission and aspirations for the future are to build the team and continue to promote independence for the people we support, encouraging them to try new activities. It’s also to promote Cheam Road within Achieve together and outside agencies, and to become recognised as an outstanding service.”
What is Cerece most looking forward to, and feeling excited about?
“I’m excited about developing new skills on my management journey and completing my NVQ level. I’m hoping Cheam Road will achieve an outstanding report from CQC as this will be my first inspection as Manager. This is my first time registering with CQC, so I’m excited about that!
“I’m also hopeful that the people we support continue to grow, as well as our team members. I’m excited to be making a change in peoples’ lives and to be going the extra mile.”
Cheam Road is a 24-hour all-female residential service supporting adults aged 18+ with autism spectrum conditions, moderate learning disabilities, mental health needs and complex needs including behaviours that may challenge. The home provides support to develop individualised plans that promote increased choice and independence, whilst focusing on recovery and relapse prevention.
The team at Cheam Road are passionate about providing a warm and homely environment for everyone we support.