Johnny's story: the staff are like my family
Johnny was in our care 15 years ago. We spoke to him about his relationships with staff and how they have made an impact on his life.
I was in several different care homes before I came to the Together Trust, once there I met a lot of amazing staff who took great pride in their work and certain staff members made a difference for me. They didn’t know it at the time, and nor did I, but they were influencing my future.
I’ve always been more creative and technically minded. When I was younger, I was renowned for skipping school. But instead of just bunking off, I would skip school to build websites at the library. Kevin, one of the staff, came into the library one day and watched what I was doing. He recognised that I was doing something I loved. Instead of being angry, the staff realised I’d found something to concentrate on and get my head into.
Kevin bought me my first domain name and web hosting package - I think on his own card. He kept paying for it after I left care until I was about 19 or so. He didn’t have to do that. Now I have a successful business of my own building websites.
I’ve always known the phone number at the home off by heart. I called for two or three years when I left but then I got a bit embarrassed and I got afraid to call. The years went by and I thought I’d just call them on the off chance because I wanted to show them how far I’d come. I didn’t have anyone else to tell and they are like my family.
When you leave care you need constant support, more than just a social worker coming once every couple of weeks because you have nobody. You need someone who will push you to get a job. Even just take you out for a drive a few hours a week to have a chat. You need someone that cares about you.
Debbie, the manager is like a mother to me. Well, she tells me off like she is my mother! Whenever I get anything new or achieve something, the first person I call is Debbie. I’ve got a lot of respect and love for Debbie, Vicky, Maxine and Kevin.
I come to Stockport all the time, it’s like I’m chasing nostalgia. I drive there to get the same feelings as when I was younger to try and make sense of everything back then. I spent three years chasing my past and it was the best thing I ever did. I answered questions I had and understood how much people did for me all that time ago.
When I got my files, it made me respect the staff more. Some of it was hard to read, but it made me realise that they understood me, and they knew what I was going through. There’s a lot of work that goes into being a children’s residential social worker.
Now I have five beautiful children, a loving home, a successful business, good friends and family and a wife who tells me I have made all her dreams come true. My life stands at a place of contentment and pride.
If you have a story to share about your care experience you can email Ali our Communications and Campaigns Manager and she'll arrange a time to chat: firstname.lastname@example.org