How did you first hear about the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT)?

My husband worked in the Community Services division and was aware of a role at the BIRT Centre, Redford Court in Liverpool that would suit me – he pointed me to the advert.

What were you doing prior to working at BIRT?

I qualified as a learning disabilities nurse in 1994 and had worked in challenging behaviour and learning disability units. The same organisation set up an acquired brain injury (ABI) service and asked me to move over to support its development. I left this service and worked with another organisation supporting people with learning disabilities, autism, mental health issues and ABI in the community.

How long have you been working at BIRT?

I’ve been working here 16½ years – since January 2001.

What position did you have when you joined?

My first role with BIRT was Service Co-ordinator / Assistant Manager at Redford Court, Liverpool.

What other positions have you held at BIRT?

I started as Assistant Manager, then became Deputy Manager and then moved up to Service (Registered) Manager.

What position do you currently have?

I’m currently Divisional Manager (North) for BIRT.

How has your role changed and developed over the years?

Each role I’ve held has evolved and adapted based on the needs of the service users and also in line with external factors e.g. Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) moved to Care Quality Commission (CQC) which brought many changes, changes in employment law effects the role and also the economic climate and the pressures faced by funders. My current role has changed a lot in the three years I’ve been doing this. I’ve travelled to many different centres across the Trust, sometimes supporting established centres to develop and sometimes setting up a new centre. The role takes on different aspects based on the pressures or issues within the Trust, from being really involved in HR aspects, to recruitment and disciplinary issues, to a large market focus. My job appears to change and evolve on a week-by-week basis, always centred around the needs of the Trust and its centres and also the support available in the organisation.

How has BIRT changed over the years?

It’s got a lot bigger! Both in terms of the number of units and also the high number of support services available.

Is there one moment that really stands out for you in your time with BIRT?

There are so many but one key moment for me was when I was a Service Manager and the team we decided we wanted to hold a ball for the service users and their families. A number of service users, either due to their behaviours or physical disabilities and access issues, often didn’t attend large family events such as weddings, and we wanted them to have this experience. The team at Redford Court understood exactly what I meant and we held a ball at the centre with a proper ball gowns and black tie dress code. I’ve never been as proud of the service users and staff than I was that night – the team had given up months of their own time to enable the service users to experience this. Families were overwhelmed and the service users were fantastic. I was really choked up and will never forget the pride I felt that night. There has been a Redford Court Ball every year since – 10 years later!

What do you enjoy about working for BIRT?

The variety means every day and week is different and the fact that the views of the service users are always at the foreground. Another key element is that BIRT listens to its staff and allows them to create new opportunities within their own centre.

What advice would you give to those thinking about working at/starting a career with the Trust?

There’s lots of experience and commitment in the Trust. Opportunities and career development do come along – just look at how many long service staff have started in much junior roles.

Where do you see BIRT going in the future?

External pressures are affecting the Trust, however, the Trust is strong and will adapt and develop. The merger with our Community Services Division is very new, but this will be a strong bond and give better outcomes for the service users. I think this decision will be good for the Trust and most importantly the men and women we support.