Why Life's a Beach for Debbie
The nearest Debbie Irving got to Antigua was the glossy calendar on her office wall - until she decided on a dramatic career change and started work with Lancaster specialist care agency Origin.
Since making the move, Debbie of Whitehaven has spent two weeks in the Caribbean - all expenses paid - as well as travelling extensively around England.
Like many people, Debbie knew there was more to life than her office job with Nuclear Electric at Sellafield, Cumbria. But it was only after hearing from a friend who worked as a personal care assistant with Origin what an interesting job it was that she decided to find out more.
Origin's three day training course allayed any fears Debbie had about how she'd cope with the responsibilities of caring for a spinally injured person.
Said Debbie: "The course gave me all the information and practical skills I needed.
"I'd never even changed a baby's nappy before but within a few days of my first placement my initial concerns were unfounded."
Since joining Origin in August 2001, Debbie's undertaken a number of short term jobs as a respite carer - supporting a client while their regular carer is on holiday or away for some other reason.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed all my placements with both male and female clients but the highlight of the year must be the trip to Antigua!" she said.
"I accompanied a very charming, independent lady and her partner and helped with travel arrangements, holiday activities and personal care.
"I was lucky to have every evening off and had great fun sampling Caribbean nightlife on a really beautiful island where everyone was so friendly.
"It was a terrific experience and I can't wait for another assignment like that one," added Debbie.
Looking back on her new job with Origin, she's obviously glad to have made the move into a fulfilling new career.
"I remember my friend telling me what a great job she was having travelling, meeting lost of interesting people, and doing something different everyday.
"It seemed a fabulous job, particularly as I was single, living at home and looking for something other than a regular 9 - 5 job office job.
"After attending the course, I knew it was something I'd love to do. I gave a month's notice at work and now I'm enjoying every minute in my new job as a personal care assistant."
Debbie highlighted one aspect of working for Origin which she especially likes - helping support spinally injured people to live independent lives.
"That's vital for many of them, and I've made some good friends, so much so I've already been back to support some of my early clients."
Origin offers both respite and long term care for spinally injured adults throughout the UK. Its male and female carers offer the support they need to live independent lives and do things the able bodied take for granted like going to work, shopping, having a meal or taking a holiday. Great care is taken to 'match' carers with clients to ensure both parties are compatible in terms of age, interests and abilities.
For further information
Please contact 01524 34100 or visit www.origincare.com
Peter Henry, Origin Limited, 7.0.6. Cameron House, White Cross, Lancaster, Lancs.LA1 4XQ
Tel: 01524 34100 Fax: 01524 34300.
This is an archived article and some details may have changed since this article was first published