Blog of a Support Worker: Rhys Farrugia

Blog of a Support Worker: Rhys Farrugia

Rhys FarrugiaBus Drivers!

When I was at the youthful age of 5, I was asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As bold as brass, ambitiously and confidently, I replied with “Bus Driver!” At the time, I obviously didn’t envisage the unsociable hours; London congestion and faulty Oyster card readers.

20 years on, buses are reluctantly a big part of my working day – not because I am a Bus Driver – but because I am a Support Worker. The big red motors – along with trains, tubes and the DLR – take me to my Clients on a daily basis.

Support working is a very rewarding job. I’m sure my colleagues/fellow Support Workers will agree when I say, sometimes we don’t actually realise how much of a difference we have made/are making to another person’s life. In a sense, we are the barrier removers that enlighten and open the path from non-disabled co-workers, and managers to our clients, who along with their ambitions, hobbies and activities have disabilities. It has always been in my nature to help people and that makes my work feel like it’s so much more than ‘just a job.’

I feel my previous jobs have helped me to excel in the role I do now. Previously, I worked in a retail store and the banking sector. Coincidentally, we have a few Clients with jobs similar to these, meaning I have been fortunate enough to use my occupational experiences to maximise my support to our Clients.

I’ve been working for appa since January 2014. My first visit to appa house office was in September 2013. I was roped into judging a cake bake competition (just one of the many fun events that we regularly hold) whilst I waited for a friend who works there. The atmosphere and close-knit surroundings were really compelling. A majority of people were communicating through sign language and something clicked in my head to give me an instant desire to want to learn that myself. I enquired about the possibility of starting a course, and by good luck, a level 1 class was just about to commence. I had no hesitation in signing up for it. Although my initial intentions were purely to just learn sign language with appa, a vacancy came up a couple of months later on the support team, and I was lucky enough to apply and be successful. I’m now currently learning BSL level 2 and have a clear direction on how I want to grow within our company.

It’s no secret that I’m an avid football fan and I follow Charlton Athletic home and away (sympathy for all my sins are welcome). In all, I’ve been to over 60 grounds up and down England and that’s boded well for my job. As well as travelling around London, I have done support work in Brighton/Hove, Canterbury and Leeds. I relish new horizons and I guess the ultimate dream now would be to work abroad somewhere! In 2015 especially, I have really caught the ‘travel bug’ and working with appa, you get the opportunity to support so many different Clients, in so many different locations – your knowledge levels of the London tube lines increase significantly too!

Overall, life as a Support Worker has genuinely been great for me. I’ve worked with almost 20 different Clients who have been a joy to support. Working with people who have a disability has really been an eye-opener for me personally and I find it amazing how those exact same people have such a positive outlook on both their own lives and life in general. I realise I’ve rambled on a bit so I’ll leave it there, but one last thing I just want to clarify – there’s nothing at all wrong with being a Bus Driver!

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4 Responses

  1. What a very well written piece Rhys. I’m glad you have found yourself in such a fulfilling role. I’m proud of you, keep up the good work.

  2. What a fantastic young man you are Rhys. We need more people like you who are committed to ensuring disabled people have great outcomes and aspirations in life. And who can help disabled people enjoy their lives to the maximum. Thank you for being you.

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