How a life-changing moment provided a Manchester woman with the catalyst to change career and work in care

The loss of her mum after months of caring for her prompted Emma Gorton to take her life in a whole new direction.

<p>Emma Gorton, a Belong at Home community support worker, with Stephen who she supports</p>

Emma Gorton, a Belong at Home community support worker, with Stephen who she supports

A Manchester woman has spoken about how the loss of her mother prompted her to switch career and devote herself to caring for others.

Emma Gorton is a Belong at Home community support worker and helps people in the Didsbury and Altrincham areas.

Emma previously worked at a family-run business but then took a break from that after her mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

And after her mum died, Emma decided that helping other people was what she wanted to do every day.

How did Emma Gorton decide to embark on a career in care?

Emma, 42, received the devastating news of her mother’s terminal lung cancer diagnosis amid a career she enjoyed as the office manager for a family-run business.

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Taking a break from work, she spent the precious time left looking after her mum’s needs, from managing medication and domestic tasks to providing emotional support.

After her mother’s death, Emma struggled to decide how to move forward with her working life while also coming to terms with her bereavement.

Eventually, though, she decided that what she had been doing to help her mum was ultimately what she wanted to spend every day doing at work.

She said: “It was a difficult time and I was at one of life’s crossroads: I knew I didn’t want to go back to the office and I’d really enjoyed being there for mum.

“The district nurses said I’d done a great job and caring just came naturally to me.”

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However, she was still unsure about her next step until she had a chance conversation that influenced the path of her career.

Emma said: “I was talking with a friend about my experience and she said Belong at Home had vacancies.

“With my background and no care qualifications, I didn’t think I’d be in with a shout but she advised that professional experience isn’t necessary and that they train colleagues who share their values.

“I thought, ‘If I can look after people like my mum, then I’m on to a winner’ and so I decided to go for it.”

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What does she do now and what does she think of her career change?

Joining the Belong at Home team as a community support worker, Emma now spends around 20 hours each week visiting older people in their homes in and around south Manchester.

She initially trained on-the-job for The Care Certificate, designed for those who are new to care.

Since then, she has gone on to achieve level two and three NVQ qualifications in Health and Social Care, which has allowed her to progress to a senior position.

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Reflecting on her career change, she said: “It didn’t take me long to realise I’d made the right decision. Belong at Home really cares about its team – they’re flexible with my childcare, the training is exceptional and they even pay for your time when travelling between customers, not just the time you spend caring for them and not all domiciliary care employers offer this.

“People often call us ‘carers’, but I prefer ‘support worker’ as you’re supporting adults, sometimes at the start of their dementia journey, to live and enjoy their lives as independently as possible.

“It might be accompanying them to the shops or having a chat over tea and biscuits. These small everyday moments mean the world to them, which makes my job very rewarding.”