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Family fortunes – Inseparable siblings land dream careers working together

A pair of Macclesfield sisters have found the perfect job that rewards them with fulfilling livelihoods whilst meeting the demands of their busy lifestyles: working alongside one another, caring for the town’s older community.

Rachel Smith, 53, and Traci Herbert, 58, have found their vocation with Belong at Home, offering a helping hand supporting people to live independently in their homes. The Maxonians joined the home care service as part of its ongoing recruitment drive, as their personal circumstances necessitated a career move – both for very different reasons.

 

Safeguarding expert Rachel, then head of college student support services, sought a switch that aligned more closely with her emotional needs. She explains: “Dealing with complaints all day really took its toll; I needed a job that was more positive, where I could still have an impact on the lives of others.”

It was after caring for her uncle in the final stages of his life, Rachel felt ready to embark on her new venture: “I’d known for a few years my next step would be in care. People are called to do it and I could wait forever and a day to be financially ready and it would never come.”

Meanwhile, older sister Traci was battling to keep afloat the family pub within a hospitality sector up against increased costs and decreased patronage. Having heard of the flexibility that care afforded her sister, she drew upon her previous experience to re-enter the profession. Traci recalls: “I needed a supplementary income that would allow me to work around my business. Rachel was really enthusiastic about Belong at Home and I’ve worked in care before, so it was the perfect opportunity.

“Growing up, we were always together; I took her everywhere. Our family’s very close, so it’s a joy to be able spend more time together and it’s not uncommon for us to meet in Tesco’s car park to share lunch and have a catch-up.”  

Working from the not-for-profit care operator’s Upton Priory base, the team’s work comprises visiting older people at home to assist with personal care, domestic tasks and arranging excursions, all whilst offering companionship and emotional support. Just six months into the job, Rachel has earned a newcomer award nomination at the Stars of Social Care Awards for Home Care.

Rachel continues: “I’m thrilled to be nominated for a job that I love! I wasn’t sure if I could apply without care experience, but as long as you’re a people person, happy to look after others and make them comfortable, Belong at Home teaches you how to care for someone with dementia. The main things you need are confidence, approachability and empathy. My advice to anyone thinking about it is to just go for it.”

Traci adds: “For me, the flexibility is perfect. I do around 25 hours per week which gives me time to complete all the pub admin in the day and then carry out care appointments in the evening or take full day shifts when it suits. We also get to spend more time with our parents; just recently, we celebrated mum’s 80th after being able to swap some shifts around with the colleagues. It’s been ideal for the whole family.”

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