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Sharon Barr, KIDS Safeguarding Lead, shares her career journey with KIDS spanning over 20 years!

At the time of applying to work for KIDS I was working in a residential home for adults with learning disabilities. A friend who I worked with saw the KIDS advert and suggested we both apply, as working with children might be lots of fun, it was a bit awkward as I got the job and she didn't!

I worked with 4 families for a number of years as their short breaks worker and had lots of fun supporting them from activities at home whilst parents went out, to abseiling with a wheelchair user.  I wasn’t too much older than some of the young people that I supported and I think this helped to build a good rapport and professional relationships and support them in partaking in activities their peers would be, this was feedback given by parents as well.

After about 5 years I went to uni to complete my social work training and continued supporting a couple of families who were still receiving support from KIDS but my plan was to finish work with KIDS once I qualified, but once I qualified I was only supporting one family as the others had moved into adult support so I continued to work with them whilst working full time as a social worker.  I will always remember going in to my 1st day in a new job as a newly qualified social worker with a fat lip and black eye, as the child I was supporting from KIDS the day before was showing me their impressive gymnastics and had cartwheeled into me and kicked me in the face! 

I then applied for a permanent role with KIDS managing the play and leisure and young carers team this was alongside having had 2 children and fostering a disabled child.  Which is where I have another fond memory, more recently when I was attending a carol concert at the day service our foster child who is now an adult attends, I recognised one of the other adults in the choir. It wasn’t until I spotted his mum that I realised it was the 1st child I had supported with KIDS in 1998, his mum was so pleased to see me and she remembered so much about the support that I and KIDS had offered so it obviously meant so much to her.   

Working with young carers has been a really humbling experience for me, listening to their stories and always being astounded by their resilience at such a young age.  Safeguarding child and adult at risk has always been a passion of mine as I believe that everyone has the right to be safe and be protected from harm, so when the national safeguarding role become available it was a no brainer for me to apply and I was successful and so here I am 22 years on, here’s to the next 22!

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