Meet Nicoleta – Community Support Worker

Hi!  I am Nicoleta, I am 30 and I started working for Wilberforce Trust in the first day of lockdown as relief staff 2 years ago.  I joined the trust at a challenging time, but somehow it fit my personality and pushed me to think out of the box.  I am also a mum and last year I was a student and I was very grateful to be able to continue to do a job I enjoy and follow my educational and parenting goals.  The trust facilitated flexible working patterns and the support workers team and the managers were always understanding if my son was poorly and during exams time.

Last year I heard about the community shifts and I put myself forwards for it, I thought it might be a good learning experience and I was right.  I continue to enjoy driving around York to support the service users and be part of their care.  It was a peep in the life of community nurses and into the standard of care the NHS workers are required to have, but what I enjoy the most is the interaction with people and how this service is one more step into enabling people to continue living in their houses.  It is rewarding to see both familiar and new faces and have a little chat and make sure the service users are receiving their medication on time.

In the last few months, I also took the opportunity to offer 1:1 support in the community one day a week.  It continues to be a wonderful experience and I always look forwards to see where are we going to travel in that day.

I was new to York when I started to work for the Wilberforce Trust, but while supporting the service users both in the supported living and community I had the chance to learn more about York and its surroundings and get to know it as well as I know my hometown.  Now lots of places I know carry the mark of a unique memory from when I was supporting others and was helping make the time pass meaningfully for them.


Nicoleta is a relief Support Worker across the houses and also relief Community Support Worker (what Kaitlin does) across both the NHS community support work we provide and also interim Community One-to-One for the Wilberforce House tenants.


Are you interested in joining the trust?  Take a look at out current job vacancies here or have a look into volunteering here.

Support Worker in Profile – Meet Peter

Hi Peter! Please introduce yourself, what makes you tick and what are your passions?

I really enjoy doing magic tricks, which I do for the tenants at each of the services I have worked at and they love it.  Years did a special show at No 4 Tadcaster, I’m not a professional but I do it part time and love to share it with others.

I’m an outgoing person and I love to interact with the tenants at work.

What do you enjoy out of work?

As I’ve already mentioned I love magic, I also love astronomy and the history of York.  When the Big York Dig was on Time Team I went down to have a look.  I was a member of York district metal detecting club for some time, I had some excellent finds including a silver Viking ring in 2002 which was covered in the York press and some Roman earrings that are now held in Hull museum.  Anything that’s over 300 years old had to be declared as treasure and go to a coroner.

What made you want to work for Wilberforce Trust?

Well I’ve been at the trust for 11 years now.  I’ve been in care for over 20 years, working at Tesco as a customer service manager before that.  I live in Tadcaster and saw an opening at the Trust online, I knew people who were working there already and was offered a position.  It’s a great place to work and I love working with other staff and the tenants, and I’m looking forward to the new Wilberforce House opening up.

What made you want to be a support worker?

I always wanted to go into care, I enjoy helping people, doing the courses and the sleep overs.  I’ve enjoyed it so much that I decided to make a career out of it.

What do you like most about your work?

I really like interacting with the tenants and doing things that make them happy.  Taking one of the tenants to the Yorkshire museum on a Friday has been a recent highlight, he’s wanted to go for a while now so I wanted to take him.  I love how we become like family to the tenants.  I’ve been on holidays with tenants before, tp Northumberland and to Holy Island, it’s lovely to enable the tenants to do what they want.  I love working for the Trust, they’ve been good to me over the years.  The management are good and it really showed over Covid how they supported the support workers and made us feel wanted and welcome.


Are you inspired?  Would you like to make a difference whilst you work?  If so consider becoming a support worker yourself, apply here.

Support Worker in Profile – Meet Shaun

Hi Shaun! Please introduce yourself, what makes you tick and what are your passions?

Hello, I’m Shaun.  I’ve been in York since 1991 when I came to the city to study ‘Theatre, Film & Television’ at York St John University.  When I arrived in York I started volunteering, mainly in community arts with people unrepresented in media and film.  Before that I started in play group volunteering.

I did a placement at Old Dairy Studios, running workshops and helping people make promotional videos.  I supported a lot of unrepresented people and people with disabilities.  I also ran creative sound and video workshops and worked with schools.

Before I came to York I was a sales manager and before that I started out life as a trainee engineer (semi-skilled milling machinist).

What do you enjoy out of work?

I used to put on music festivals, I did 23 years of the green festival!  I still enjoy listening to music, mainly experimental classics, Frank Zappa, Jazz.  I enjoy walking, reading, photography and image manipulation.  I also enjoy painting and I really like people.
Shaun Bradley with Daniel

What made you want to work for Wilberforce Trust?

The arts game was seriously underfunded and I needed to make a living, so I decided to step aside and do something a bit different.  Being disabled myself (I had polio at 18 months old which got into secondary stages) I have quite a conviction about giving access to people with disabilities that are usually underfunded.  I had worked with people from the Wilberforce Trust on various other projects and I had met tenants of the trust through my volunteering.  I liked the history of the trust and what it works to achieve so I decided it would be a good place to work.

What made you want to be a support worker?

I like to help people achieve their goals.  Before I started I had never had any formal training but I did support people when I ran workshops.  When I started at the trust they gave me second to none training which was wonderful.

What do you like most about your work?

Well, loads of aspects.  I have a certain outlook on disability and what decent support actually means to someone who can’t really compete with someone abled bodied and they don’t get access to certain support to achieve what they want to.  It’s wonderful to help people achieve their goals.  I get to do the kind of things I did on voluntary basis, dear to my heart and to get paid for it.  It’s fantastic to get paid for what I would do for free.  The trust recognises that the old model provision has had its day and that things have changed and the trust has embraced the changes, that’s refreshing.  I’m also excited about the new build and what we look to achieve there.  It’s really refreshing to have conversations with the CEO Philippa about the direction of the trust.


Are you inspired?  Would you like to make a difference whilst you work?  If so consider becoming a support worker yourself, apply here.

Welcome to our Activities and Events Manager

Ellen and her team will be organising activities and events for the Learning and Living Zone and Club Wilber, looking after our amazing volunteers and overseeing our much needed fundraising.

Hello, my name is Ellen Harding.  Originally from West Yorkshire, I joined the Navy in 1991 and spent 16 years as a sailor!  Working on ships and ashore and I also was lucky enough to spend some time in the Falkland Islands. I then moved to New Zealand with my family for 8 years and I am now a dual national.  I have a huge passion for travelling (as you might guess) and have visited more than 30 different countries! On a weekend you will find me in my workshop with my toolbox out or covered in paint as I am an avid maker and crafter and I love nothing more than to make something special out of an old piece of furniture.

I wanted to work for Wilberforce Trust because I have been a volunteer all my life and have been looking for a role in the third sector for some years.  I am so rewarded when I have the opportunity to help people and I knew that I had the energy, enthusiasm and empathy to put into a role working with a charity.

I was attracted to the Activities and Events Manager role because of my background previous experiences.  I have been a Brownie Guider for 25 years putting together programmes for the different groups I have worked with. Seeing the smiles and laughter of enjoyment from these children gave me such motivation.  I worked with disabled children in some of my groups and it was interesting to see how the others empathised and were happy to work on the adapted activities. Plus, I am a born organiser with a lot of experience putting events together and rallying volunteers.  It is such a privilege to work with The Wilberforce Trust and I feel like a jigsaw piece that has finally slotted into place.

We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help with our events and activities.  If you have never volunteered before you should give it a try – the rewards are amazing. Volunteering can help you gain confidence by giving you the chance to try something new and build a real sense of achievement. You will be making a difference, meeting people, learning some new skills and best of all having fun!

Interested in volunteering?  Click here!

Support Worker in Profile – Meet Sam

Hi, my name is Sam.

I have been working for Wilberforce Trust for the last 6 months and I am thoroughly enjoying my time here.

In my time outside work I enjoy socialising and live music events. I have a drive for creating an egalitarian society and have found this has enhanced more within my role at Wilberforce.

I decided to work for the Wilberforce Trust as I was ready for a change in career and to take on new challenges. I was already aware of the Trust and appreciated their values, I wanted to be a part of that to support and enhance the lives of the people I work with. While I have been working at Wilberforce Trust not only have a I found I can do that, but that working with the tenants also enhances my life and widens my general outlook, values and beliefs.

Samantha with Sheila and Carol

Are you inspired?  Would you like to make a difference whilst you work?  If so consider becoming a support worker yourself, apply here.

Welcome to our new Sensory Business Manager

Hi there, my name is Lauren Holmes and I have just joined the Wilberforce Trust as the Business Manager for Sensory Services.  I was born in Wales and am very proud of my Welsh heritage.  My other interests and hobbies include playing or watching football, reading, walking, cooking and watching endless dog videos on Instagram!

I moved to North Yorkshire in 2017 to pursue a new start and further my career.  I have worked in social care since leaving University in 2013, working my way from Support Worker to Registered Manager.

I am passionate about the rights of people with disabilities, equality and social inclusion.  Every person I have worked with has shown me something through different eyes; that led me to the hope that one day we live in a world where a person is seen before their disability.

The pandemic prompted personal reflection of a number of things for me and one of them was looking to further career.  My passion in care was always sensory deprivation and improving outcomes for those living with a sensory impairment, so when this role came up I felt excited at the prospect of applying.  After research and interviewing for the role I had a really positive feeling about working for the trust.  I felt like my values aligned with theirs and their vision.  I’m a keen and quick learner so I was thrilled to accept the position and get to work.  I’m looking forward to developing and improving on the already amazing work of the Yorsensory Team.

YO1 Radio Agility Networking Collage

Support Worker in Profile – Meet Sarah

Hi, I’m Sarah.  I’m 29 and I have worked as a support worker for Wilberforce Trust for almost six years in both their York and Tadcaster residences.  Those that know me would say I am a positive person who is sensitive and empathetic and enjoys helping others.

Six years ago I was working in a coffee shop, I loved my job but I felt that something was missing.  I first heard about the role of a ‘support worker’ from someone I did volunteer work with and I thought it sounded ideal.  She spoke proudly of the organisation she worked for – the Wilberforce Trust.  There were a lot of care companies to choose from at the time so the recommendation was really helpful.  Still, loving any excuse to write up a list, I remember writing down all the pros and cons to help me choose and Wilberforce Trust came out on top.  I loved that they specialised in something and sight loss was an area I knew virtually nothing about, so I really was intrigued by that learning opportunity.  Plus, they offered competitive pay rates and a good health care package (by the way, they still do)!

Six years on and I have never looked back!  My role as a support worker for the trust has been more rewarding and fulfilling than I could ever have imagined, and I’ve learnt so much.  I’ll never understand the national shortage of support workers, what other job is there that you get paid to chat with someone over a coffee, to go shopping , to go to the cinema, to unwrap presents with someone on their birthday, or even assisting them on holiday!?  Of course, not every shift is like that and there are definitely challenging parts of the job, but I don’t think the highs are celebrated enough.  When you are a support worker, you get invited into other people’s lives, welcomed by their families, involved with someone’s day to day routines and traditions, it’s such a special thing to be part of.

My favourite part of my work is the tenants we support.  I get so much enjoyment from chatting to them, taking them out, helping them solve a task they are struggling with and helping them to become healthier, happier versions of themselves, living a life as independent as possible.  There is a lot of change coming soon with our new premises Wilberforce House being built and I’m really excited to be with the trust right now to see that through.  I would 100% recommend anyone considering joining us as a support worker to do it!  If you easily empathise, have a positive attitude and are keen to help others then just like it was for me, it could be the perfect fit for you too.

Are you inspired?  Would you like to make a difference whilst you work?  If so consider becoming a support worker yourself, apply here.

Welcome To Our New Sensory Outreach Officer

We’re so happy to have someone as passionate as Paul join our team and fill the role of Sensory Outreach Officer.

You’re likely to see Paul out and about in the community, so we asked Paul some questions as a way of him introducing him to you all.  We hope if you see Paul out and about you will take the time to say hello.

Introduce yourself. What makes you tick, what are your passions and what makes you you?

Hello, my name is Paul Senior.  I was born with a severe/profound hearing impairment and use a hearing aid along with lip reading skills.  I have always personally and professionally been passionate in supporting people with a disability.  My other passions are socialising with friends, watching TV, reading, cooking & DIY.  I also like going on trips including walking.

I strongly believe that people with disabilities whether they are blind, deaf, wheelchair users, etc.  should be treated with respect and understanding regardless of their abilities, just like anyone else.  They should be regarded as a person first with their own individuality rather than only focusing on the disabilities.

What made you want to work for Wilberforce Trust?

I have been aware of Wilberforce Trust for a few years and previously became a volunteer a few years ago, however I was unable to continue due to my previous job being full time.  I have always kept an eye out for any job opportunities at Wilberforce Trust, I felt with my direct experience of my hearing disability there was a lot I could offer.

What attracted you to this role specifically?

I was attracted to the Sensory Outreach Officer role specifically because I like to be out and about, interacting with the public and offering information and advice around hearing and sight disability.  I have extensive first-hand experience of technical resources and support available to help with my disability at home from when I was at school and college, in work situations and social settings as well as the daily challenges that can present.

Why should someone pop over to say hello if they see you doing outreach?

Because I am very passionate in creating awareness of how the Wilberforce Trust/Yorsensory service can help people.  I always bring a smile and make people feel comfortable and at ease.  They will walk away feeling reassured and have their questions answered.

Paul and Julie at Acomb Explore outreach

Paul is regularly out and about in the community, if you would like to see where he is going to be then take a look at our What’s On page or follow us on Facebook and keep and eye on our Events page.

InSight Magazine – Winter 2021 Edition

Our new Winter 2021 edition of Insight is out now!

This edition includes:

Click the image above to read the latest edition of our Insight Magazine.

New Trustee – Anne Mwangi

Anne has over 20 years’ experience of working in the field of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the public, higher education and charity sectors. She currently works for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation/Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust (JRF/JRHT) as the Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Her passion and drive to help organisations become more inclusive and address inequalities stems from her professional experience as well as her lived experience as a disabled (visually impaired), black woman. Anne understands what it is to face systemic inequalities as a woman, a black person, and the compounding factors of living with visible and invisible disabilities.

Anne’s resilience, determination and tenacity has enabled her to continually make a difference in the organisations she has worked for, in spite of her own personal challenges.  She is experienced in influencing senior leaders, developing and embedding diversity strategies and a range of diversity frameworks. She supported JRF/JRHT to become a Stonewall top 100 inclusive employer in 2019 and a Disability Confident employer in 2020.

Anne has also successfully supported organisations to use the positive actions measures within the Equality Act to address the under-representation of women, BAME and disabled people.  Currently she is working the JRF/JRHT leadership team and Trustees to develop a Race Action Plan and to become an anti-racist organisation.

Anne has substantial experience of developing staff networks, community networks, diversity champions and training programmes that are linked to the strategic diversity objectives.   She believes that Allies can make an invaluable contribution in supporting minority groups, to bring about organisational cultures that value difference and support everyone to be themselves at work.

Anne holds an MBA, MED and is a Chartered MCIPD