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MyLife News

Love your job! Work for My Life!

Love your job! Work for My Life!

Live in Standish or nearby? Work locally and make a big difference to others!

Here at My Life we connect people with their communities, helping people who need support to live a good life.

We’re currently recruiting for Tutors, Support Staff, Learning Support Assistants, Sessional Facilitators and Administrators. You’ll get to be part of a great team and receive excellent rates of pay and personal development opportunities!

Find out more – come to one of our Recruitment Evenings!

Dates: 27th April, 19th May or 17th June, 7pm – 8.30pm

Venue: My Life, Thompson House Equestrian Centre, off Pepper Lane, Standish, WN6 0PP

Book on 01942 233 422 or email hr@my-life.org.uk


My Life Blog: Caroline Tomlinson: ‘Why investment in clinical support is essential in social care’

One of the key values of My Life is that we always offer person-centred, bespoke care for people who need support in their homes and day-to-day lives. Generic, off-the-peg assistance from a pool of ever-changing staff on minimum wage just doesn’t provide long term benefits for people and their families. We believe the outcomes we want to deliver for people and their families can only come from teams of motivated, skilled people who are invested in the care they provide.

And as we began to help people with complex needs, we realised there was a real need – and added value – in offering clinical support, not just for the people who need it most, but their teams of staff, too. Employing a Clinical Lead – which I have to say is not usual in our sector – has been one of our most important hires of recent times.

We often find, especially when dealing with funders or commissioners, that there is a push-back when it comes to budgeting for or employing additional nursing staff. But actually, it’s not just nursing skills that are required in a complex case, it’s a professionalism and ability to work with a family; even if technically a person doesn’t have continuing healthcare needs, the medication might be so complicated that it needs someone with the level and competence of a Clinical Lead to guide everyone through to a satisfying solution. They don’t have to be in the home all the time. But they need to be on hand when required to ensure high-quality care is being given.

And the rest of the time, of course, the staff need to be confident in the job they’re doing. This is a big part of our Clinical Lead’s role. Kelly coaches our staff to treat those we care for as people with lives rather than patients that need nursing. That requires quite a lot of nuance, adaptability and confidence, so Kelly will sit with our staff as they do their jobs and provide ongoing support and feedback to enhance the more formal training they will have already received.

Clinical Lead Kelly Robinson at work training My Life staff

Clinical Lead Kelly Robinson at work training My Life staff

This isn’t about scrutinising staff, although naturally we have very high standards and aspirations for all our teams. Kelly will be working on shift with them, being a positive role model and empowering people to build confidence, competence and a capability to do the role – and make decisions for themselves.

Which makes sense; many people who work in the care sector are visual, practical learners. You wouldn’t ask a plumber or electrician to do their apprenticeship in a formal classroom setting, and in my view it should be the same with personalised care – for it to work effectively you need to have staff with a skilled approach who can apply not just knowledge but good judgement to what might be a complex situation. Having care staff just logging hours providing basic support doesn’t help anyone.

What Kelly helps drive with her clinical background, professionalism and decision making are the values of My Life. When she steps back from a team, she is confident that they have the skills to provide the best package of care, not just the agreed hours. She is, however, always available to respond to the many challenges that complex care packages bring up – a busy role but one we’re so pleased to be able to provide.

All of which underlines that My Life doesn’t just offer people emotional or physical support; we have an understanding and appreciation of their whole situation and deal with it in a way that has a basis in both high-quality care and clinical excellence. The whole package, in fact.

Caroline Tomlinson, My Life Founder and Chief Executive Officer

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Course: Getting Back In The Saddle – Helping Women Feel Empowered After Lockdown, Through Equine Guided Learning

Five-week course, Saturdays from 24th April, 10.30am until 3.30pm

The last year has been very difficult, but for those who have had to juggle family life, children, a career, home schooling, caring responsibilities, relationships, feeling isolated, lonely or simply ‘just having to do everything,’ life has been really tough. The mental health of women has suffered terribly during the pandemic and we want to help you to ‘get back in the saddle.’

As little girls many of us loved the thought of being with horses. Some of us achieved the dream, others just imagined galloping free. As adults we simply haven’t had time, we can’t afford it, we are too fat, not fit enough or are frightened by something that happened in the distant past. We give ourselves so many excuses of why we shouldn’t, but now is the opportunity to re-live your dream and do something for you.

We have crafted a five-week course combining person centred coaching and the use of our horses and other animals as partners in the delivery.

The benefits to you

We will help you to realise your own dreams and goals, discover how to make them become a reality, build your confidence, self-esteem, feel in control and experience real joy, being with horses and our other animals. This is a chance to slow down as we offer guided instruction, response and reflective practice, enabling you to communicate in a way in which the horse understands, through body language and movement.

You will have the chance to learn from our horses by developing a true relationship that is hugely rewarding and empowering. You’ll understand how they respond to each other and to humans, through guided observation. You will spend time touching, stroking and grooming them, learning how they move and generally building your confidence with them. For some, climbing aboard will be your ultimate aim, for others just being with the horses will be enough. You will be encouraged to develop at your own pace and reach your personal goals.

“Horses are magical beautiful beings that don’t judge, they seek love, an open heart, a humble soul and are a joy to be with. To express ourselves in the same way as horses understand, is to let the power of our emotions flow, to be present, engaged and feel connected.”

Who is the course for?

The course is for any woman of any age, from those who only imagined being with horses to those more experienced, albeit a bit rusty. This is as much about empowering you, as it is being with the horses. It is now time to do something for you, to rebuild your confidence, energy levels, self-esteem and to spend some time doing something that you will enjoy.

About the course coach

Caroline Tomlinson is the founder and CEO of the charity My Life Legacy. She is a qualified riding instructor, life coach, trainer and mentor. Her ‘horsey career’ came to a halt when her son contracted meningitis at six months old and was left with complex disabilities. Caroline had to discover a new dream and a new pathway to live a good life, albeit different to what she had planned.  She works with people to empower, coach and encourage every individual  to live a good life and is now combining all of her learning with the wonderful facilities at Thompson House Equestrian Centre, to help those struggling right now.

The course costs £55 per session or £250 for the full course of five weeks

Participants should attend all sessions to maximise the full benefit and feel-good factor.

This includes refreshments and lunch from The Stable Door Café & Ice Cream Parlour.

Income generated from this course will support the wonderful work of our charity, enabling our members to benefit from the joys of our horses and other animals.


My Life, Thompson House Equestrian Centre, Pepper Lane, Standish, Wigan, WN6 0PP.

To Book

Call 01257 472900 or email info@my-life.org.uk.

This course is not restricted to women and can be tailored to the needs of other individuals and groups, including work-place team building, much needed after separation caused by the pandemic.

My Life Blog – Caroline Tomlinson: ‘Why it takes a whole community to be part of the Health and Social Care workforce’

I think the events of the past year have made everyone at some point stop and consider not only what they want out of life but what positive effects they can have on someone else’s too. Whether that be changing career to one that makes a difference, or helping a shielding neighbour with their shopping, we’ve all in some way had cause to find meaning in what we do every day.

Which is where working in the care sector comes in. Traditionally, of course, it’s bound up with looking after people who need care. It’s hard – if hugely rewarding – work. But what I’ve been saying a lot recently to people who are considering more meaningful work is that the job isn’t always about the practical act of caring. It’s about helping people to live a good life in all sorts of ways, and that means attracting people with all kinds of skills and gifts that can enhance the quality of other people’s lives.

And across My Life, nearly 80 percent of the people doing incredible work with and for the people we serve have never worked in the sector before. We’re finding a whole new group of people who want to work across health, education and care. And who stay with us far longer than the industry average.

How we do it isn’t a trade secret – I’ve not quite written the book about recruitment in the care sector (yet!) but at My Life we did pioneer the approach and I do run the course. It’s called Pathways To Employment – and while we started it in Wigan, we’ve coached people in communities across the country to deliver it too.

The idea is to have a dialogue with people about the values of an organisation and what it stands for, before they decide to apply for a job. Our strapline for Pathways to Employment is ‘finding people with big hearts,’ and it began in 2012 when I realised that there were people employing their own staff – through a direct payment or personal health budget – but struggling to find really good people to provide their care. All they could do was put a job advert on Indeed and hope for the best. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

And the single biggest issue in our sector is recruiting really good people, not least because pay has been so low in the past that they just jump to another job offering slightly more money. So my view was that we needed to reshape the whole system, and bring in lots of people with lots of skills and gifts. As long as they’ve got the right attitude to do the job, you can train them in the specifics of the role.

But first of all, I felt it was really critical to give people insight into the variety of jobs available. A lot of people who come on the course wouldn’t directly apply for a role on Indeed because they wouldn’t consider themselves qualified enough. What we do with Pathways to Employment is work with people before that point of recruitment to discuss whether there is something that’s right for them.

It’s attracted such a vast array of people from masses of different backgrounds. We get people from hospitality who make brilliant personal assistants as they’ve been schooled in customer care. We’ve appointed teachers, nurses and social workers to work across My Life utilising their skills and delivering personalised support across health, education and social care; Amy, for example, used to work for a bank dealing with bereaved families – though she was talking with people who needed emotional as well as practical support, she felt “unable to speak to people like a real human.”

She heard about Pathways to Employment, completed the course and was “hooked”. She started out volunteering at our café and it wasn’t long before it was obvious how much she was enjoying it – and now she works full time in support for My Life. I spoke to her the other day and she still has the great energy which has been her best asset. “I thoroughly love my job,” she said. Does it get any better than that?

Our safeguarding lead, too, is a former police inspector who wasn’t ready to retire and had masses of life experience and transferable skills. He came through Pathways To Employment and has been a big asset to My Life.

What his experience proved is that the pathways into employment at My Life aren’t always directed towards being a frontline carer – organisations like ourselves need a whole range of skill sets to fit a wide range of roles. And actually, although the Pathways to Employment course is crucial, the process of finding the right colleagues starts a long way before that. We can’t expect people just to turn up out of the blue – we have to get out in the community, market ourselves on social media and capture the imaginations of people who have always thought about a career change or giving something back but didn’t know where to start.

I think of Nicky, who works within our My Life Learning team at Standish. She’d worked in mainstream education for years but had got frustrated with the lack of opportunity to work on individual needs. She heard about Pathways To Employment and within hours of attending the first session instantly knew she wanted to be part of the journey. “In a way I felt like I already belonged,” she remembers. I just want to share with you here what she told me recently:

“Although at the time I didn’t understand why My Life employed staff in this way, by the end of the course I totally did. The discussions which took place emphasised My Life’s ethos and the values that make it the place that it is; being the right person mattered most, not the qualifications you had. The way in which children, young people and adults alike were being supported by a hand up, not a handout, really appealed to me. Despite not working with young adults before, I desperately wanted to become part of the team and to make a difference within a community where everyone belongs.”

That’s why the course is free, usually at the weekends and is designed to give people some empowerment and self-confidence. So even if people don’t decide to take the relationship with us further – quite a low number in reality – they have still participated in something worthwhile which has opened their minds to different things.

It was reassuring to me that Nicky talked about community. One of the biggest drivers for me is that we employ people who both believe in their community and are connected to it, because invariably that means they open up new worlds for the often isolated and lonely people they care for. I truly believe that a big part of the caring role is to help people gain wider networks and connections.

And some of those connections come at the course itself. I bring in people looking for personal assistants, and the participants get to chat to them informally. It’s fascinating to watch the people on the course working out whether that kind of job – working for a family who need care – is for them, or whether in fact that specific family would work for them. And then – a bit like The X Factor! – sometimes we might actually match people that have met at the course who then go on to have really successful working relationships.

So Pathways To Employment is unique – and yet has become transferrable across the country. It’s not a course on how to deliver care. It’s a course that explores how to deliver really good quality support for people, and where you might fit within that. It might be that your “fit” is a day a week in combination with other work, which is also fine. What the course really tells you is that there are so many opportunities for meaningful work out there.

Caroline Tomlinson, My Life Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Our next Pathways to Employment course will take place in Wigan in June 2021. Please contact us on 01257 472 900, or email info@my-life.org.uk for more details.

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Information about the Coronavirus vaccine, for people who find pictures easier than words

Information about the Coronavirus vaccine, for people who find pictures easier than words

If your loved one is waiting for their vaccine invitation, they or you might feel a bit apprehensive about it.

Beyond Words have put together this easy to use visual guide to having the vaccine. 

It’s a story for people who find pictures easier to understand than words. In fact, it’s not necessary to be able to read any words at all. It also comes with a guide explaining how best to use it to talk through any feelings or concerns.

It might help to look at it together, so that you or your loved one can feel prepared when they receive their vaccine invitation.

You can read it here.

Fun, themed chalet weekends this summer, exclusive to My Life members!

Fun, themed chalet weekends this summer, exclusive to My Life members!

We’re very excited to announce that this summer, we’re holding exciting themed weekend holiday stays in our chalets, with full support!

Exclusive to My Life members, you can enjoy a break in a familiar place, with just a few others. Even better, all bookings will be honoured if the weekends have to be postponed due to Covid-19. 

With three different themes, which will you choose?

Farming Fest

Live a farmer’s life – from seeding to planting, crop rotation and caring for our farm animals, perfect for those who don’t mind getting their hands in the soil!

Master Chef

Learn to cook your favourite dishes! Become Master of the kitchen! Experience alfresco dining and BBQ’s as the sun goes down.

Mini Fest

Enjoy drama, dressing up, music and making festival props. Create a wonderful space to enjoy each other’s company and a camp fire sing song!

How much does it cost?

  • £225 for the weekend (including full board and *support)
  • £135 for two days non-residential (Saturday and Sunday)

Book today on 01257 472 900 or email info@my-life.org.uk!

Weekends start at 4pm on Friday and end 4pm Sunday. Please note that bookings must be paid in full in advance.

*If you require 1-1 support this may involve additional costs which we are happy to discuss.

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Registered charity number 1167858 - Registered office: Thompson House Equestrian Centre, Off Pepper Lane, Standish, Wigan, Lancashire, WN6 0PP

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