Last week, a Support Worker from the Gr8 Support Movement (www.Paradigm-uk.org) described her sadness to the Movement at seeing Carers out supporting people at Lakeland Shopping Centre whilst wearing hi viz jackets that said ‘Carer’.
This provoked an outcry amongst the Support Workers in The Movement:
‘Really wrong ‘un’!’; ‘Good grief!’; ‘A uniform in my eyes is bad enough for a Support Worker. This is a new level of crazy!” ‘Nothing like knowing the public know it’s them and us!’; ‘We need a revolution to get rid of this kind of inhumane organisation!’; ‘Outrageous is an understatement!”
Why, you might ask? Because these jackets so clearly state a ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitude when so many of us working so hard to address and breakdown these barriers of ‘them’ and ‘us’ and instead create more natural inclusion within communities where people feel valued as equal, fellow human beings.
Being a Support Worker or a Carer, we believe, is one of the most important jobs in society. Our jobs are about empowering, enabling, and freeing people – people who too often are disempowered, not seen/heard and not valued as equal.
We see beautiful support as a two way, strong and genuine relationship with the person we are supporting – a relationship based on equality. We support people to live their lives with integrity and respect, as each and every human deserves.
Wearing a jacket, or any uniform, like this is not just unnecessary in these circumstances, it is outrageous. It disempowers, making people stand out as separate to others in their local community. A subtle but powerful negative to society in a time when we should all be aspiring to equal citizenship and human rights for all.
This is yet another example that does not represent the many stories of beautiful support that go on around the country today.
The Gr8 Support Movement calls for:
· Any organisation who ask their staff to wear those jackets to STOP!
· People who receive support to know that this is NOT OK!
· Commissioners who are aware of such practices to ensure it STOPS!