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West Lynn’s Tamara becomes a ‘Rising Star’ through her care work

todayJanuary 20, 2021 2

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A carer whose first day in the job ended up with her unconscious on the floor has turned things around in spectacular fashion as the first winner of her company’s Rising Star award.

Tamara Proctor, 20, worked in retail before deciding on a career change, and joined award-winning Heacham-based home care company Extra Hands last May.

Despite her inauspicious start, the West Lynn resident has gone on to become a key member of the team and a trusted friend to the care service users she visits from Extra Hands’ Heacham office, rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission.

Extra Hands carer, Tamara Proctor. Picture: Ian Burt (44027764)
Extra Hands carer, Tamara Proctor. Picture: Ian Burt (44027764)

“I still don’t know what happened that first day – I wasn’t unduly anxious, I’d had a good breakfast and I was prepared, but I passed out completely,” the 20-year-old said.

“An ambulance had to be called and they said I’d probably overheated. It was a strange way to start – phoning the careline is supposed to be for the benefit of service users, not the carers, but I like to think I’ve made some progress since then!”

Before the pandemic, Tamara worked in a shoe shop, often dealing with elderly customers, which she said gave her some insight into the requirements of her new career, a choice which was also influenced by personal experience.

“Growing up I was a carer for my mum, and I’d also seen how carers helped her, so when I saw what was happening with the pandemic, it seemed like the best time to get involved,” she said.

Extra Hands was set up by David and Hazel Evans almost three decades ago.

It seems to have been the perfect fit for Tamara – particularly with the well-being check service, the first such homecare service in the county, which can take the pressure off friends, relatives or carers who can’t visit regularly.

“I absolutely love this job,” she said.

“I’ve had other jobs before where I felt happy, but that was mainly down to the environment of the people around me, but this is the first job I’ve had that I’ve felt genuinely happy to do.”

Tamara’s boss Lynda Hilliard said:“She’s settled into her role as if she has always been with us, even though she had no care experience before she came to Extra Hands,” she explained.

“Tamara’s service users are very pleased with her and she has made quite an impact on some of her regulars, who have said she is always lovely and cheerful. She is always helpful if we call her to help us out.”

“Mixing with so many people makes me happy,” Tamara added. “With my regulars, you build a relationship with them. If I’ve not seen them for a few days, when they say they’ve missed me, it’s wonderful to know I’m having such a positive effect on their lives.”

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todayJanuary 20, 2021 3