HAVING spent the majority of her career working in catering at a local leisure centre, Wendy Christie was new to the care sector when she joined the North East Autism Society (NEAS) as a residential child carer in March 2021.

After the leisure centre she worked at closed its catering offer, Wendy considered applying for catering work elsewhere – however it was the daughter of a friend who suggested she applied for a role with NEAS.

And after completing the Society’s week-long induction, e-learning and training on the job, Wendy felt ready to take on the new challenge – and she says she’s never looked back.

“There are jobs out there which are the same day in, day out, but every day here there’s something different going on, which is good,” Wendy says. 

“As long as the boys are happy, that’s the main thing.”

The 52-year-old, from Sunderland, says the best thing about the job is helping the young people who live in the home to progress through life.

Helping them with their life skills, seeing their faces light up if there’s something going on in the house or their birthday. The best bit of the job is seeing their smiley faces and them being happy

“Your job here is to help them, to make sure their lives go as smoothly as possible.”

As well as helping them within the home, Wendy accompanies the boys on day trips, doing activities such as rock-wall climbing and even on summer holidays.

And since joining NEAS, Wendy has taken on extra responsibilities within the home such as overseeing the food and meal planning, including doing the grocery shopping and doing the majority of the cooking.

“It’s just like a family home with a sitting room, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms,” Wendy adds. “We have it this way because it is the boys’ home.”

Asked if she would recommend a career with NEAS, she adds: “Try it, it is different. It’s challenging at times, yes, but if you enjoy going out to different places and working with children, then apply for it.”

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