Top award for South Shields support worker recognises turnaround from sleeping rough to senior role

A South Shields senior support worker went from working for a fast-food chain and sleeping rough, to receiving an award from a national care provider.

Mick Sowerby spent most of his childhood in care, before starting a career working in catering. After attending youth training schemes, he moved to London to find work.

When he arrived in London he didn’t have anywhere to stay and spent his nights sleeping under a bush until he found somewhere to live.

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After a year of working in different fast food restaurants, he decided the industry wasn’t for him and applied for a job in a residential school which supported children and young people with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Mick with one of the people he supports.Mick with one of the people he supports.
Mick with one of the people he supports.

Mick said: “As I spent most of my childhood in care with my brothers, I had so much empathy for the students there and wanted to give back all the help and love I could. I loved working there and spent five years supporting students, until I moved on to further my career.

“Whilst working full time I also studied for four years with Open University for a diploma in Health and Social Care, which I achieved in 2004.”

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After a short-term agency job in child protection for social services covering the North East ended, Mick joined the team at Fairholme, a residential care home in South Shields supporting adults with mental health issues, which also provides care for people with learning disabilities and autism.

Mick Sowerby.Mick Sowerby.
Mick Sowerby.
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He added: “I was honoured and quite shocked when I received a Salutem Star from our CEO, John, and when I read the congratulatory card from him, I got a tear in my eye.

“I'm not in care to take – I’m in care to give something back to the individuals who just need a little bit of support and guidance to help them live their best lives.”

John Godden MBE, CEO of Salutem Care and Education, said: “At Salutem, we believe it’s important to recognise the essential work our carers do for the individuals we support.

“Mick is an excellent example of someone who is dedicated to their role and gives his all to the people we support. Congratulations Mick! You’re an asset to the team.”

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