Meet Richard Harris, the new Manager of Strawberry Fields
Richard Harris is delighted to be working back in a residential learning disability service, back in his home county.
As the new Service Manager of Strawberry Fields in Littlehampton, West Sussex, he is keen to get started supporting his team to improve the service.
Richard’s move to Strawberry Fields has allowed him to get back to managing a learning disability residential service, which after reflecting on his personal journey into social care he felt was where he could make the most positive difference to others, whilst also finding true fulfilment in his role.
So how did Richard get into social care?
“It’s been 17 years now and the answer is I just fell into it! A group of friends were setting up activities for people with learning disabilities, Judo sessions on this occasion. I went to offer support, something I often did in my spare time, and I loved it.”
Through the many contacts Richard had made whilst supporting, he secured a job at a day centre as a support worker in Crawley, Sussex.
From this role Richard moved into a 23 bedded residential care service for people with learning disabilities, where over the following 18 months he completed an astounding number of qualifications including LDAF, NVQ’s 2, 3 and 4 along with his RMA, gaining him promotion into the role of Deputy Manager.
The service was due to close and so Richard moved with the same provider over to a supported living service for a short period. The opportunity to experience supported living is something Richard was hugely grateful for as it enabled him to realise residential care was his first love.
Moving on, Richard took up his first Service Manager role in a struggling residential service. He thrived, leading a then disgruntled team, empowering them to develop themselves and their service and turned the service around. This was a pivotal moment for Richard.
“I really enjoy developing a new team, trouble shooting and turning homes and services around. Taking them from Requires Improvement to Good is very rewarding and something I have become known for. After covering the south coast for several providers working with a large number of services from Whitstable to Poole in Dorset for another eight years.”
“When the role of Service Manager came to my attention at Strawberry Fields it immediately caught my attention. It’s in my home county and a service that needs a committed manager, who knows how to empower and motivate a team. But what really struck me was the values of the organisation and the opportunity to truly make a positive difference to those supported within the service.
“I have a very good relationship West Sussex stakeholders and feel this will help us in working closely together to change the perceptions of the service, whilst I also work with colleagues, who have great morale by the way, to develop and improve the support we provide.
“Everything in Consensus is person centred. The investment in time and support I have received from the senior management team has been amazing. I have been made to feel exceptionally welcome and I am genuinely excited to go to work every day and am keen to use all the skills held by my colleagues transferring more influence and responsibility for the way in which we support individuals at Strawberry Fields.”