Michael Fullerton, Director of Wellbeing, Strategy and Collaboration
My career as a learning disability nurse began at St Ebba’s and St Lawrence’s Hospitals in Surrey. My father had been a learning disability nurse there; he inspired me, and I love it.
I became passionate early on about ensuring people had excellent support in ordinary community settings and was involved in hospital closures and moving people to the community. Working initially for the NHS and Local Authority Services in community settings, I moved from there to Care Management Group (CMG) in 1996, which then became Achieve together. Here, I have developed my skills and expertise, initially as a Home Manager followed by a variety of roles including regional management and assessment & referrals. I have been in my current role for ten years now.
I have worked with many people supported over the years and have had the pleasure in watching those people flourish in their lives. Whether my input has been direct or indirect, it’s what inspires me and drives me forward.
I always remember what life was like for people living in institutional settings, and even today I get a real buzz knowing that we have supported someone from secure settings, including prison, or they have experienced a number of placement breakdowns and we have supported them to maintain stability in their lives.
The best thing about my role is the people I have contact with every day. Within the Health & Wellbeing Team, our central functions teams and most importantly our support teams we have some truly inspirational, passionate, and creative people. I feel privileged to be part of an organisation that is forward thinking and creative.
What has given me immense pride more recently is the instigation and development of the PMLD Service Standards and running National Raising the Bar Conferences with others outside Achieve together. These service standards and events have really raised standards of support and ambitions for people with profound and multiple learning disabilities across the UK and beyond, and enhanced networking opportunities for families and professionals.
My passion fuels my goal which is to provide the best possible health and wellbeing support to people supported by Achieve together, so that each person can enjoy a happy, healthy, and meaningful life. That is our organisational Vision, and I really believe in it. I want the Health & Wellbeing Team to be an inspirational and visionary team (the best in the UK) that will support us to deliver excellent, person centred support to everyone, through skilled, confident, resilient, and happy support teams.
People’s health and wellbeing is hugely important to me and so I am also known in the organisation for the mindfulness sessions which I thoroughly enjoy running weekly. I get a lot out of them, and they are great for helping with stress and anxiety. Relaxing weekends often feature a trip to make the most of my season ticket for Brighton & Hove Albion FC and I am looking forward to them getting into Europe next year!
What I would say to anyone considering a career at Achieve together, is that going into this type of work as a Care Assistant was the best thing I ever did. I have loved every role I have had, and hope I made the most of my learning experiences. Support work is so rewarding, and within Achieve together there are potentially many opportunities to progress ‘on the job’. Supporting people to improve their life and coping skills is so rewarding and gives so much more satisfaction than other previous roles I held.