"I feel confident and happy" - Gemma's story

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Gemma and Fiona photoGemma Babb, 38, is a Domestic Assistant at Rose Hill and Northam Lodge, part of Northam Care Trust, in Bideford.

The Northam Care Trust is a Charity that provides residential and day care for people with profound and complex learning and physical disabilities.

Gemma is gentle, committed and hard working. She always wants to do her very best. Gemma has a learning disability and anxiety.

Gemma’s words
“I really enjoy it here. I like cleaning. I work with my colleague who trained me up. I do the offices, hoover, clean the kitchen, empty bins, do stairs and floors. I enjoy working as a team and we work well together.

“I get on with all the staff and residents. I enjoy chatting to them and asking them how their day is. I am polite and always say hello. I’ve made friends here.

“I am also very conscientious and always want to make sure I do the job properly. Sometimes I go over my time – it’s because I want to make sure I get everything done. I am always here 15 minutes early.

“I have a learning disability. I also have anxiety and worry a lot. I went to a mainstream school but when I went to college I got bullied as the other kids realised I was different. I got really upset and left when I was 13.

“I then went to a special needs school. I was happier here as the other students were similar to me and were more understanding of each other. We all had different disabilities. In fact, I know some of the residents that come here from school.

“Before I came to Pluss, I had worked as a cleaner in a couple of jobs but they didn’t work out. My previous boss left and I didn’t feel that I was wanted there anymore or that they saw the value in me. I felt that doing work was too scary and I couldn’t do it. I needed to find the right place to work.  

"Pluss helped me tremendously. They helped me to find my confidence, listened to me, helped me with my choices and to find the kind of work I wanted to do. We have had some fun along the way too!

"I started off voluntary here. I was having counselling to deal with some problems and they suggested that I could do voluntary work to take my mind off things; helping the clients with art or going out. When I came to Pluss, Heather suggested asking if I could do a traineeship and that’s how it came about.

“When I was offered the job, I was happy. It’s about having something to focus on. I used to go through life telling myself “I can’t” but when you put your mind to it, you realise you can! It is all about believing in yourself. I’ve beaten the barriers and proved that I can do it.

“I live with my parents at the moment but I am hoping in the future to move out into a flat of my own so that I can have my own life and become more independent.

“It is good to be in work as being on benefits doesn’t bring you much money. I feel confident and happy as I am out doing something. It’s also great when your boss tells you you’re doing a brilliant job. You want to keep your boss happy!”

Fiona’s words, Gemma’s boss
“Gemma is absolutely meticulous and works to a very high standard. She always makes sure everything is done perfectly, her time keeping is impeccable and she does the very best job.

“Gemma gets on very well with all the different people who visit. She is polite, friendly and always has a smile on her face. She fitted in and was part of the team straight away.

“In fact, she does everything well and it’s not just my feedback. Gemma works in a lot of different teams – they sing her praises and we have great feedback from the staff.

“We’ve had a few members of staff from Pluss. All of them are still here. It is a good scheme that works well for us. It is great to get people like Gemma who are brilliant at their job, support them back into work and help build confidence. It’s worked out great for us and for Gemma.”