- Billy's Story
- Hansel's View
My name is Billy Duncan and I am a member of the Grounds Maintenance Team at Hansel. I was given the opportunity to join the team for a 12 month placement through the Work Choice Programme in July 2012 after a work trial and successful interview. I now hold the post of Grounds Maintenance Assistant (Work Choice) at the youthful age of 52! I am now in my first paid work placement after many years of trying. It is a great feeling to be given the chance.
Prior to coming to Hansel I worked in various job training schemes including a gardening project at Ailsa Hospital and at B&Q. At B&Q I worked in the gardening department giving advice to customers about the plants on offer as well as keeping the displays stocked.
In my job at Hansel no two days are the same which is something I really enjoy. The department is made up of a small team who are really friendly. They care for the estate grounds as well as the residents’ gardens. I can be asked to work as part of a team or on my own, when I get supervised or supported as required. I have been learning new skills as well as brushing up on others. Among the many jobs which I really enjoy are grass cutting, potting up plants, edging, and planting up the borders. My least favourite job is weeding – ha ha!!
As well as working in the Grounds Maintenance Department I have also become involved in projects within Hansel. Last year I designed a logo for the new Compass group, and, although not a winning entry, I greatly enjoyed attending the prize-giving at Murdoch House and appearing on the Hansel Fundraising Facebook page. I have also been involved in creating wordsearches for the Compass magazine which have been enjoyed by all those who have had a go. Within my department I regularly contribute to our Supported Workers’ Meetings where topics affecting both Hansel and the Grounds Maintenance Department are discussed, and I enjoy reading out the previous meeting’s minutes.
In my free time I have a wide range of hobbies and interests including computing which I use to keep in touch with my family in Canada; model building, taking photographs – one of which can be seen on the Hansel Fundraising Facebook page, and, of course, gardening. I have very strong ties to my family and often help my parents and brother with cooking, shopping and keeping the house tidy, not to mention my skill at ordering groceries from the internet!
If asked what this job means to me I would have to say that it has given me a new found confidence, a chance to learn new skills, a subject of conversation with my family, new friends and my first real wage packet!
In the future I am hoping that the experience I have gained whilst in this placement will lead to a permanent position in the type of work I am carrying out at this time. I hope that the friends I have made will still keep in touch, and I look forward to the future.
Work is about so much more than making money - though the opportunity to earn a real wage is important to Billy. Work is about building and maintaining a network of friends and colleagues who support us. Work is about growing: in experience and skills; in confidence of our abilities and our worth, and in our expectations of ourselves. Billy has gained in all of these areas during his time with Hansel.
Billy's story shows how much people have to offer when given a chance. As well as being a valued employee and colleague, Billy is involved in the Compass Network and actively contributes to Supported Worker's Meetings - lending his skills and enthusiasm to support his peers. He has certainly benefited from working here and Hansel, in turn, has benefitted from having Billy as part of the team.
We continue to work with Billy, supporting him in his search for permanent employment - a reasonable ambition and realistic goal for Billy and many people living with disabilities.