Nicola Deaville has been helping adults with learning difficulties since she joined Bury Council in 1989. Now based at Persona’s Victoria Centre she still absolutely loves what she is doing.
“I love it. Supporting the customers to go and do things they need to do. They are completely free to choose and do.”
The Victoria Centre is in Whitefield just off the M60 near Besses’ o’ th’ Barn. Here, Nicola and the team work so the customer can do what they want. Be that swim, go to college, or get trained up at Bleakholts Animal Sanctuary to be able to walk the dogs. They do all sorts.
One customer in particular had a very special want. One day in June, Kevin had heard from Nicola that at the top of Holcombe Hill you could see the now UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jodrell Bank. Excited, Kevin and Nicola set off up the hill only to be met with clouds. Back at base, Nicola showed Kevin on the computer what Jodrell Bank looked like and the journey could have ended there. But we are talking about Persona here. The following week, fellow Persona team member Saye Clifford took Kevin and some of the other customers to go in mini bus and take them and to see Jodrell Bank for real.
The smiles were wide and Kevin was so thankful for the experience, as a thank you, he brought back a postcard for Nicola which is now proudly displayed in her office.
In her 30 years working with adult with learning difficulties, Nicola doesn’t have one defining memory, but many. “It’s the smiles. When customers will laugh about what they have done and remember the week after what they did, and every so often still remind me “do you remember when…”That’s it! That’s the best moment. Because it obviously means something to them if they have remembered it.”