‘I didn’t expect to be such a big part of their lives’

The challenges, the inspiration, the camaraderie of staff – they’re all reasons Liam Thomson loves his job as a support worker at ASC.

Bonds are formed, he says, both with the service users and the staff. “We’re working with adults with learning disabilities, histories of mental health, and behaviour that challenges, so it’s a very challenging environment. But there’s such a sense of achievement.”

Something one of his managers told him sums up his and other staff members’ attitude to working at ASC, and is fundamental to the facility’s success – so much so that people travel far to work here. “She said we work in their home, they don’t live in our work.”

Does he take his work and perhaps stresses home with him? “I’m good at cutting off and separating work from personal life,” says Liam.

He works long shifts but only three days a week, and he has every second weekend off. “I love that flexibility, and ASC has been great at allowing me to take summers off as well. I’ve done summer camps in America, for example, and come back to work afterwards.”

Liam, previously in a “dead end retail job”, came to the job with previous knowledge of it; his sister worked at ASC and recommended he apply. But the experience has turned out to be much richer than he was expecting. “I thought it would be more of a day centre job, I didn’t expect to be a big part of their lives.”

Three years on, working at ASC has inspired him to pursue a career in mental health nursing.