11 Mar Essex care home manager achieves lifelong dream in memory of his brother
As a teenager reeling from the death of his older brother, Ollie White resolved to dedicate his life to helping people struggling with their mental health. Today, he has achieved his dream of becoming the registered manager of The Orchards, a residential service in Thorrington that supports men with mental health needs and learning disabilities.
Ollie’s achievement is even more remarkable for overcoming undiagnosed dyslexia and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) that left him struggling at school. However, after being supported by Cygnet Health Care to manage his disability, dad-of-two Ollie, 32, admitted he wept tears of joy when he received a certificate from the regulator the Care Quality Commission, to confirm his new appointment following an interview.
“I always had this day in my head, and it was amazing,” said Ollie, “I cried tears of joy when the certificate came through. I can honestly say that I love my job, and that I wake up every morning happy that I’m going to help people.”
Ollie said he had waited years for this moment, since his older brother passed away due to mental health issues. “I was 15 at the time, just finishing high school, and he was my best friend,” said Ollie, “His death hurt so much and that’s why I went to work in mental health, because I wanted to understand why he died. On the outside, he seemed to have the perfect life – he was model and was doing really well for himself, but inside he was struggling with his mental health.”
Ollie said he also dealing with his own difficulties at the time and was only diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD after he was offered an independent assessment by Cygnet while working as a team leader.
“As soon as I left school, I took a job as an NHS support worker, working shifts wherever I could. I joined Cygnet from another provider about 15 months ago and haven’t looked back. Becoming the registered manager of The Orchards is a dream come true for me.
“To be a good manager, it’s important to be able to listen, to be compassionate. Cygnet’s core values are Integrity, Trust, Empower, Respect and Care and we follow these every day. Our job is to help our residents to live as independently as possible. It’s about going the extra mile every day to make their lives better.”
Reflecting on his dyslexia, Ollie said: “I always knew something wasn’t quite right at a young age. I really struggled at school. I only found out after I took a job at Cygnet and they recognised my disability and offered me support.”
“I’m not going to say it’s been easy, because there has been a lot of bumps in the road, but I hope that any person that is reading this that has learning difficulties, understands that nothing is out of your grasp and if you want something hard enough, you’ll give it 100% and you will get it.”
Ollie still thinks about his brother. “I still don’t know all the answers about why he died, but I think he would be proud of me,” he said.
The Orchards in Thorrington, Essex, provides accommodation, care and support for up to five people with a learning disability, and can also support men with complex needs and behaviours. The service is rated as Good by the Care Quality Commission and the latest inspection report noted: “The outcomes for people using the service reflected the principles and values of Registering the Right Support by promoting choices and control, independence and inclusion. People’s support focused on them having as many opportunities as possible for them to gain new skills and become more independent.”