- Date published: 12 Nov 2014
Sean Tansey, featured on BBC Children in Need 2014, answers a few questions on what it’s like being a Family Support Worker.
Tell us a bit about your background
I have always worked with children and families in various roles from a Contact Worker for Children’s Services, SEN Teaching Assistant to an Early Years Practitioner. I joined Rainbow Trust in September 2013 and I chose the charity because of what it does, the challenges of the role and to have the chance to make a difference to families coping with such difficult situations.
What do you love the most about being a Family Support Worker?
I enjoy meeting lots of families in different situations. Seeing the children’s faces when I arrive at the family home or hospital makes the job very worthwhile. I love playing music with the children too.
What does a typical day consist of?
Every day is different and you have to be flexible to offer tailored support to each family. The day may begin with a school drop off for brothers and sisters which takes some pressure off parents. I can spend quite a bit of time at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital giving much needed respite for parents who are staying in hospital with their sick child. I also support families at home by playing or offering sensory stimulation to the child who is unwell as well as playing with their brothers and sisters if needed. Sometimes it can be just a phone call to keep in touch with parents so they know they have someone to talk to.
What are the highlights of your job?
Witnessing the amazing courage that children have, particularly if they are going through treatment. They keep smiling and are absolute stars. Talking to the families about anything and everything, sharing the laughs and the tears and seeing their positivity is simply incredible. I also enjoy talking to brothers and sisters about their feelings and giving them the chance to talk things through. Finally, I’m proud to be part of a fantastic Rainbow Trust team too!
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest thing is not being able to spend more time with the families. We would all like to spend more time with them if we could.
What’s the nicest thing a family has said to you?
I’ve been called a fairy godfather before, I don’t have a wand but that made me laugh! Another family told me, ‘I don’t know where we would be without Rainbow Trust’. That meant a lot.
You can read more about our Family Support Workers and the amazing work they do here.