Laundry isn’t a chore

Ebonie Saunders is a support work with Golden City Support Services

I love seeing people kick goals

Ebonie Saunders is a support worker at Golden City Support Services. She has been on the team now for six years. She provides daily active support for people who live in their own homes.

“I enjoy supporting people at their homes,” Ebonie smiles. “It’s good because it is quality one-on-one time with the people we support.”

Golden City Support Services believe that every moment has potential. “Little and often” is one of the four essentials of Person-Centred Active Support practised by Golden City Support Services.

It is hard for some people with intellectual disability to be engaged in an activity for a long time. Little and often gives people the chance to stop, take a break and then come back to an activity. Ebonie explains, “So, to give support “little and often”, can take a long time.”

“I learnt about “little and often” when I first started with Golden City Support Services, at Five Bases of Support training.”

“You give the person you support, the opportunity to participate in every area of their life. It means that in every moment, you support a person to be engaged in their life as much as possible.”

“One of the gentlemen that I support is now able to do a load of washing independently,” shares Ebonie. “This took a while to make happen—taking step-by-step and prompting consistently.”

It could take up to an hour with Ebonie beside him; to gather the washing, put it in the washing machine, put in the powder and turn the machine on. Ebonie frequently offered the opportunity to develop his skill to do the washing. “It took one-and-a-half years, but he can now put on a load of washing without me being there!”

“The role of my job is to work myself out of a job!” Ebonie laughs. “The more tasks people can do independently, the less support we need to give. This means more choice and control people have over their lives—this is a basic right that everyone deserves.”

Ebonie reflects, “Sometimes this job can be challenging because it is so person-centred. Things change from day to day, from moment to moment, because we are all human. It is important to me as a support worker to be supported—especially on bad days. Instead of feeling bad or that I have screwed up, I have a team of supportive people at Golden City Support Services that I can talk to about whatever happened.”

“Supporting people with challenging behaviours can be hard. Having a supportive work team of Practice Coaches means that you don’t take challenging behaviours that happen, personally.”

“Golden City Support Services do a great job of looking after work-life balance—because if I am not okay at home, then I am not okay at work.”

“I have also had the opportunity to develop my skills. Golden City Support Services paid for me to do Communication Matters training with Bendigo Health and Barbara Solarsh. I am now qualified to create communication aids for someone who is non-verbal.”

“It is so rewarding witnessing a non-verbal person re-build relationships because they now have the communication tools to have real conversations and increase their interaction with family, friends and the greater community.”

Ben Townsend shopping with his support person from Golden City Support Services
Ben shopping, with Ebonie, who is providing Person-Centred Active Support.

“I love seeing people I support kick goals. The people I support have changed the way that I view the world and how I live. It has shown me to value every moment. Supporting someone to do their laundry might sound mundane and not important, but for the person I support, it means he has more choice and control over his life.”

“I certainly don’t see doing my laundry as a chore anymore.”