Meet the Manager of Little Orchard

Meet Darryl Cole, our Home Manager of Little Orchard, Hampshire.

Darryl has been working in the health and social care sector for over 6 years. He’s extremely passionate about making a difference in the lives of those he supports. He’s now the registered manager at Little Orchard residential home in Hampshire. Here, we provide specialist support to adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Our expert team also supports people with communication and sensory impairments, and complex health needs.

How did you get into social care?

When we caught up with him, we first asked how he originally made the move into this sector. He said, ‘‘ I actually never had any thoughts of going into health and social care. I wanted to become a teacher, so I have always wanted to pass on my knowledge and help others”.

“It was when I was at college doing a higher sports leadership award where we did a unit around supporting people with disabilities, this was done through rebound training at a local sports centre. This time has always stuck with me and I always talk about this time in my life, the trust that the people I supported had in me and the difference that I could make in their lives was mind-blowing. I superseded the hours that I was required to do because I just loved supporting the individuals there and it was at this moment that I had thoughts of being in health and social care”.

“After that time it took a year or two to make my way to the health and social sector, I was in university but during this time had a baby and I was unable to carry on with my studies. I was working in retail and really wasn’t enjoying it and people would always say, ‘Darryl, you’re such a caring person, why don’t you try for a care job. When I discovered you didn’t need specific qualifications for this career, I got my first support worker job in August 2016 at the age of 23”.

“After 6 months, I became a Senior Support Worker and after some time I then became a Deputy Manager. In these roles, I supported people with learning disabilities, autism, and those who were transitioning to living their own lives away from a care home. I also supported people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, sight impairment, mental health, and autism”.

What inspires you to keep going?

‘‘ The people I support each and every day keep me going, how they surprise me, the laughter and fun we have together. Knowing that they trust me each and every day to make their days extraordinary, is about empowering people within their support to take the next steps and be proud of who they are! People will say the job is rewarding, and that it is, but what I more find from my job is ‘inspiration’, inspiration from the people I support. All the trials and tribulations that they go through each and every day and what they have been through are inspirational. They teach me never to give up, back down, and to always live life to the fullest as this is what they do each and every day of their lives”.

We asked Darryl what he feels most proud of?

“Within my own life, my children, they are by far the best thing I have accomplished within my life. On a professional note, it is getting to the stage where I am now, being a registered manager doing my Level 5 Diploma in Leadership to further my progression. It is also supporting my teams and the people we support not just throughout this pandemic but each and every day, we all go through tough patches and it is an honour for people to put their trust in me and support them through difficult times as well as the good”.

“Outside of work, Darryl enjoys spending time with his family and pets as well as enjoying his hobbies such as going to the gym and watching football even playing when he gets the chance to”.

Finally, Darryl told us about his mission and aspirations for the future…

“Little Orchard’s mission for the future is to continue to achieve its goals and look to improve facilities within Little Orchard such as creating a sensory garden. It is also to ensure staff and people we support feel valued, supported, and empowered to live their lives”.

Little Orchard is a specialist residential service for adults aged 18+ with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities (PMLD), communication and sensory impairments, and complex health needs.