BROMLEY care workers and close colleagues, Nicola Lee and Ivis Wing have been surprised with a special Long Service Award in celebration of their 30 years of dedication and support for others.
Nicola and Ivis have both worked for national charity care provider Ambient Support and its predecessors for 30 years, a prodigious milestone celebrated with colleagues at an official presentation of the special award, given by the charities’ CEO Mark Milton via video call.
Supporting people with lived experience of mental health and learning disabilities across a number of Bromley services including 24-Hours Residential Care and Supported Living services, Nicola and Ivis was delighted to be recognised for their commitment to care.
On first leaving school, Nicola Lee, now 50, worked in a Chemist in London and her first taste of Mental Health and Disability work came when she escorted people to day centres on busses.
“I absolutely loved this job and it’s where I fell in love with caring for people. I still remember how happy our service users were and what it meant for them.”
At 20, Nicola moved to Bromley where she joined Ambient Support. Nicola’s role has progressed in the charity from Support Worker, to Deputy Manager, to Manager, to her current role of Multi-Site Manager across various sites in Bromley including Croydon Road, Repton Road, Wheathill Road and Sandford Road.
In 2013 Nicola underwent surgery to have a gastric bypass and went from 27 to 12 stone, losing over 15 stone in weight and she also experienced several brushes with cancer which has meant time off.
Of the support she has received from Ambient, she said:
“The company were amazing. I had plenty of support from my senior managers and the team, we spend lots of time together and we’re just like a big family. Everyone was really supportive of my weight-loss journey which I am extremely proud of, I now really enjoy training staff which I wouldn’t have dreamed of before weight loss.”
On thoughts of retirement, Nicola said:
“I started out 3 weeks before my 21st birthday and now I’m 3 weeks away from my 51st birthday but I’m not stopping yet!
“I’m still extremely passionate about what I do. I love coming to work. I get a great sense of fulfilment. Seeing how well people do and knowing that we’ve played a part gives us the motivation and confidence to help other people- to do what we do and do it well.
“My favourite part is the client interaction – I’m really proud to have supported many clients to move on to independent living and a better future. And it’s a life-long relationship, we have an open-door policy and will keep in touch with people so they know they always have the support if they need it.”
Nicola first met Ivis Wing, 69, in 1998 when their paths crossed whilst working at services in Bromley and they have since kept in touch, via work and Ambient’s approach to sharing learnings across all staff teams.
Ivis first left school and worked in Insurance but didn’t like how impersonal it felt so tried a role in care in 1981 and immediately enjoyed being hands-on and engaging with people.
Now a Great Grandmother, Ivis, looks back proudly on her life-long career in care:
“I am a people person. I enjoy what I do and I and enjoy my work. I take great pleasure in seeing people overcome their issues, progress into the community, live independently and take on a role in society.”
And of Ambient Support:
“One thing Ambient is very good at in regard to staff is training. There are all sorts of training all of the time, but this is a good thing as it means we can care for the people we look after with regards to the latest research and advice.”
Mark Milton, CEO was keen to mark this special career milestone, he said:
“We are incredibly lucky to have not one but two truly committed carers at our Bromley Mental Health services. It’s their passion and long-standing dedication that ensures the people we care for are happy and supported to live a fulfilled life. Nicola and Ivis go above and beyond their call of duty on a daily basis, and for this, we are truly grateful.”