Stephanie Whalley joined Achieve together over six years ago and has managed two homes prior to taking up her role as Manager for Wren Park.
We asked why she originally chose to go into the Care sector, Stephanie shared, “I knew I wanted to make a difference, but even more than that – I wanted to make a bigger impact than just a difference. I think that people should have full, enriched lives, and they should be offered every opportunity that everyone else is. I’ve always wanted to be a massive advocate for that – supporting people to push past barriers, for the people we support, and for my team as well.”
Stephanie has enjoyed developing her career in social care, learning new skills, and building her confidence, having started out as a Support Worker, onto Team Leader, and then a Registered Manager, sharing with a smile, that she has been a Home Manager ever since.
Outside work, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her young daughter, and said, “Being a mother is really fulfilling, and it has actually made me become a better Manager at work.”
At Wren Park, the support is outcome-focused, supporting individuals to achieve their goals, participate in meaningful activities, and become more self-sufficient through building on their skills. People supported are encouraged and supported to continue with previously established rehabilitation goals and strategies and, where required, adjust these, or develop new ones.
People supported at Wren Park lead active lives and take part in a variety of activities that help them increase life and social skills, and confidence, with the ideology where possible to support people back into a community-based setting independently, or with the support of their step-down support system, or outreach care.
The team led by Stephanie pro-actively engage with individuals to access external agencies where needed to seek support with employment both paid and voluntary, and support with their health needs.
An advocate for positive risk management, Stephanie says, “I’ve always challenged if people thought they couldn’t do something, and try to find innovative, new ways for them to work towards and achieve independence and seek new opportunities.”
Stephanie describes how Wren Park reflects some of Achieve together’s core values: “The people we support at Wren Park are incredibly brave and resilient. A lot of them have acquired brain injuries – their circumstances are incredibly challenging, and they are some of the bravest, most resilient people I have ever met. They get up every day and find new ways to continue progressing their skills and gain more independence.
“Wren Park is also fun – it can be light-hearted too; it’s very welcoming, and there’s good rapport with the team and people we support.”
The service holds many social events throughout the year, such as coffee mornings raising money for Macmillan Cancer Research, and are this year taking part in the Hats for Headway day where they will raise money and don their most creative hat making skills.
We asked Stephanie what inspires her to keep going, and the best thing about her job. She said: “It’s the difference you make to people’s lives. People we support are incredibly resilient – I see their strength, and joy in their achievements – and that’s what keeps me coming back to my job.
“The best thing about my job are all the different people I work with. The chance to meet new people is wonderful!”
What is she most proud of? Stephanie says, “I worked hard with the STOMP initiative – which is about not over-medicating people. I’ve had someone completely come off their medication. It’s about the quality of their life.
“Also, watching my team grow and learn over the years has been amazing – I’ve had people step up to management positions, leads and some of my team members have gone on to have great careers. It’s been lovely to watch everyone grow.”
Finally, we asked Stephanie about her mission, and her future aspirations for Wren Park. “It’s to push Wren Park to its full potential, with as many resources as we can possibly get. To gain accreditation with Headway would be amazing. And to ensure we are really moving forward with the rehabilitation model – supporting people to get better and gain an independent life and be more involved in the community. I really want to set that up for everyone.”
Wren Park is a 24-hour supported living service for adults aged 17+ with a traumatic or non-traumatic acquired brain injury and/or varying degrees of cognitive, physical, behavioural and emotional difficulties. The home provides a personally tailored rehabilitation pathway, with the aim of moving towards a more independent life following rehabilitation where possible, and desired by the individual.
You’ll find the team at Wren Park are passionate about meeting every individual’s needs, going out of their way to make Wren Park a place the people we support can call their own.