Meet the Manager of Lancaster Gardens

To celebrate the opening of our new Supported Living accommodation Lancaster Gardens, we spent time with Emma Smith, Registered Manager there.

Emma told us about her experience in the health and social care sector, her motivations and how she inspires her team. We also asked Emma to tell us about Lancaster Gardens and what makes it such a sought-after place to live.

Tell us about your background in the health and social care sector

“I have always been involved with providing care and support for others. I was a child carer for my mum, which led me to a career in children’s services. After a few years of supporting young people, I moved into adult care and absolutely loved it. I’m still here today, and I’ve never looked back.”

As an accomplished deputy manager at Victoria Road, Emma was promoted to Registered Manager for the newly opened Lancaster Gardens. Providing support for up to 8 adults, it’s a large property and Emma will be managing a team of talented support workers.

When we asked Emma what really motivates her, she talked about people.

Whether that’s the people she supports, her team, or her family.

“I want to help people. I want to be able to enhance and fulfill the lives of others. I love my family, and that helps me to provide the absolute best support for people because I want the best for absolutely everyone.”

Testimony to her determination to ensure everyone gets the best support, Emma jokingly told us that she’s also motivated by “being told I can’t…!” – she sees that as her challenge to make something better, to do the right thing, and go above and beyond.

What will you most be looking forward to in your role as we open Lancaster Gardens?

Emma’s top 3 things she’s looking forward to when opening Lancaster Gardens are:

  1. Building a person-centered team
  2. Enhancing people’s quality of life
  3. Being part of the local community

And Lancaster Gardens is the perfect setting to achieve all of those.

The team is coming together for the first time, with a mix of new recruits and longstanding experienced members from other areas of Achieve together. This creates a strong dynamic and ensures that every person living at Lancaster Gardens gets the best support.

Support is person-centered, and there’s an enormous potential to access many different experiences in the local community within Clacton-on-Sea and beyond. Minutes’ walk from the beach, and from shops, cafes, and eateries, Lancaster Gardens makes for a special home.

And Emma and her team are already very much part of their community. To mark the opening of Lancaster Gardens as a supported living home, the team hosted a celebration open day, which was attended by over 40 people – including team members, people we support, families, neighbours, social workers, and local commissioners.

How do you manage the challenges that come with working in social care?

“One of the biggest challenges in adult health and social care is in changing other people’s perceptions about people with disabilities. I’m enthusiastic about advocating for change and equality.

I personally make this a priority by encouraging acceptance and by building positive relationships with people right across the community, from neighbours to local community groups, and just the general public. It’s something I’m very, very passionate about.”

What has been your greatest achievement with those you support?

“There have been a couple that always comes to my mind. The first one was when I was working in children’s care; I worked with a young lady for over 3 years. Seeing her progression and the changes, strength, and courage she showed was remarkable. The way she embraced the support she got and seeing how we’d helped her shape her life, which could have been so different.”

“In adult care, I would have to say it’s just the way we put a smile on people’s faces.

“Supporting people, getting to know them, making people feel safe, building relationships, and enhancing their lives.”

“There’s been a lot of struggles over the last few years with covid, and peoples’ lives really changed. It was difficult for everyone to understand what was happening but especially challenging for some people who we support with complex needs. So being there to support them has been such a meaningful moment for me.”

How do you motivate/inspire your team?

Working in adult health and social care has taught Emma a lot about leadership, and she told us that she always treats people how she would want to be treated.

“Communication is the most important thing. I always ensure I involve my team; I lead by example and make sure people are and feel valued.

“And most of all, we need laughter! That’s what helps us all to feel happy and makes it such an important part of our daily lives.”

Lancaster Gardens provides supported living accommodation for adults in Essex. If you want to talk to us about moving into Lancaster Gardens, or another Achieve together home, just contact us and we’ll be happy to help.