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#Penumbra Debs on the impact of our life saving work and being a part of something special

So when I was asked to do this I thought ‘wow, how difficult to talk about me and what I do!’ then I thought stop being ridiculous Debbie how hard can it be to write about something you love and feel privileged to be part of!

I’ve worked at Penumbra for 20 years now , literally half my life. I currently work as a Service manager overseeing our Supported Living services, alongside my amazing teams, which provide support to around 200 people in their own homes across the city. There are literally no two days the same and it varies from working with NHS, statutory, and other third sector partners, supporting our staff and working directly with people face to face offering support. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions and experiences over the last 20 years.

I still remember the 1st day as a support worker at Greenhill which back then was a supported accommodation for people who had been in the hospital for long periods of time. There weren’t many alternatives to hospital if you needed more support with daily living then, and for some it was thought they would never be able to live outside a hospital environment, however Greenhill and similar set ups offered an alternative to that.  All of the people I have worked with there over the years now live independently in their own homes, and that’s partly through the support that an organisation like Penumbra provides.

I have been able to see many people come out the other side of some real darkness and that’s had a massive impact on me and the person I am today.

Debs McLachlan, Service Manager in Edinburgh

Penumbra really is its people and I know it’s cheesy but it really is a privilege to be in the position I’m in. If I’m having a bad day, week or month; my teams, the people we support, the goals we reach with people lifts me and makes me thankful to be part of something special. I would encourage anyone who has that kindness and empathy in them to look at the work we do and consider applying for a role or volunteering. It really is the most fulfilling role and an opportunity to make a difference!

The biggest thing is to see the person and who they are, what matters to them, and not the label of diagnosis. There is no one size fits all, and even in the hardest of times there is always HOPE for someone. With a little bit of care, compassion and a guiding hand people can get to where they want to be.  This not only enables me to do the job that I do through the toughest of times but it helps me as a person to! If I’m having a bad day, week or month; my teams, the people we support, the goals we reach with people lifts me and makes me thankful to be part of something special!

Penumbra really is it’s people and I know it’s cheesy but it really is a privilege to be in the position I’m in! There is something in being there for someone no matter how small that is which I think is something many of us have done a little more of during Covid times and it’s important we hold onto that; keep doing those little acts of kindness because it really does lift a person and you make a difference in a really powerful way.

I know that many people may have lost employment this year but I would encourage anyone who has that kindness and empathy in them to look at the work we do and consider applying for a role or volunteering. It really is the most fulfilling role and an opportunity to make a difference!

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