Over 38,000 social care workers are making a difference in people’s lives across Northern Ireland. We are sharing their stories and shining a light on the men and women who dedicate themselves to social care. They believe in better. They believe in making a difference.
Our series of short films and photographs tell the stories of social care workers, recognising their valuable contribution, highlighting the enabling affect it can have for communities, and the diversity and flexibility of roles and career choices across the various sectors and care settings.
Social Care – making a difference in people’s lives, every day
Social care workers are individuals who help to support, care for, protect and empower people to live as well and as independently as possible. They deliver a range of practical help and emotional support to individuals, families and communities. Working in social care requires staff to be compassionate, kind and skilled in delivering a quality service to the people being supported.
Our registered social care workforce is the largest within the Health and Social Care sector.
Watch our new social care stories
Championing a life without barriers
Mum of two, Rachael Mackarel is a Senior Support Worker at L’Arche Belfast where for eight years she has been supporting adults, like Thomas, with learning disabilities to live a life without barriers. She could see the need in the community for social care professional roles, and so she took that on and really enjoys it. Thomas is a founding member of the L’Arche Belfast community and is a keen athlete. Rachael helps oversee his wellbeing, as well as advocating with him for his right to choose his own path. Social care workers like Rachael, make sure the people they support are physically healthy and happy so they can reach their full potential in life, while surrounded by care, compassion and kindness. Likewise, social care roles like Rachael’s help people access this type of work, which is so rewarding, while financially supporting their own families.
Runtime: 4m 18s Starring: Rachael Mackarel & Thomas
Not all heroes wear capes
Though a busy mum of three, Stephanie McAleese cares for older people, and those with Though a busy mum of three, Stephanie McAleese cares for older people, and those with physical and learning disabilities in her Limavady community, as if they are part of her family. After leaving a deli counter job she started working as a social care worker for Connected Health. Six and a half years later, she is now a Regional Manager leading a team of 190 care assistants and three area managers. Every day she is making a difference to someone’s life as she supports her team who are at the frontline of putting community members, like Pat, first. Working with other health and social care professionals, social care workers are the backbone of society as they keep people safe and well at home. Stephanie believes there is no other job that is as fulfilling as a social care worker.
Runtime: 3m 51s Starring: Stephanie McAleese & Pat
Food for the soul
Fermanagh native Rhonda Knox, after spending her entire career Fermanagh native Rhonda Knox, after spending her entire career from 16 years of age as a chef and with the last of her three boys about to leave home, decided to find a job where she could continue to care for others. Working in social care as a Community Support Worker for Positive Futures, opened that door for Rhonda and she believes it can be an aspirational career for many more people if only they could see what it is really like. Rhonda works in both Positive Futures’ children and adults’ services in Fermanagh – as she says, she ‘gets the best of both worlds’. Paul and Mary are two of the people Rhonda supports and her work includes supporting them to get involved in community activities, building their social and independent living skills, such as engaging in leisure activities, learning to cook, doing arts and crafts etc. Rhonda says that building a relationship of trust and respect with people supported and their families is vital to what she does and she takes great pride in knowing that she is having a positive impact on their lives. She wishes she had known earlier about a career that gives her so much enjoyment – she couldn’t ask for more.
Runtime: 4m 29s Starring: Rhonda Knox, Paul & Mary
More social care stories…
Doing What You Enjoy
Gina is a support worker. During her weekly visits with Errol, she encourages him to get out of the house and do the things he enjoys most. For Gina, the reward of being a care worker is seeing the enjoyment in the faces of the people she cares for.
Runtime: 3m 56s Starring: Gina Brown & Errol
After being made redundant from her retail job, just before her 60th birthday, Bernie grasped the opportunity to fulfil her lifetime dream of becoming a social care worker.
Runtime: 3m 53s Starring: Bernie McErlean & Freda
A Philosophy of Caring
When Rachel left university, she wanted to make a difference in the world. She achieved that by becoming a support worker for L’Arche Belfast, where she helps people live their lives to the full.
Runtime: 3m 53s Starring: Rachael Mackarel & Thomas
Going The Extra Mile
Kelly is a Community Bridge Builder with local mental health charity Mindwise. During the pandemic she has been helping keep people connected by delivering resource packs for a range of art and craft activities online.
Runtime: 3m 46s Starring: Kelly Mitchell
Retail to Care
Stephanie worked as a deli assistant before a career change led her to social care – she believes there is no other job that is as fulfilling as a social care worker.
Runtime: 4m 49s Starring: Stephanie McAleese
Home from Home
Julie is a Support Worker for the Cedar Foundation and works at Karuna, a 10 bedded unit in Carrickfergus supporting adults with learning difficulties to live independently and well. For Julie it’s like her second family and she loves her job.
Runtime: 3m 37s Starring: Julie Kuchocha
Part of a dream team duo at the Simon Community, Melissa along with her colleague Christina is helping change lives by finding homes for those who need it.
Runtime: 3m 59s Starring: Melissa Mallon & Christina Slevin
You Can Do it
Described as a magical place, Andrea believes the residents at Camphill, Mourne Grange are just an extension of her own family.
Runtime: 3m 34s Starring: Andrea Sloan
Hospitality to Care
With his caring nature, Okan has a deep affinity and bond with the people from Parkmanor Oaks Care Home that dates back to his childhood in Turkey.
Runtime: 3m 51s Starring: Tony McNally & Okan Ozel