Social Care Journeys #2: Andrew Ramsay
In our Social Care Journeys series we sit down with different team members from across The Mungo Foundation. We ask them about their careers, and what they enjoy about working in social care. In the second installment we sat down with Andrew Ramsay who works as a Full Time Childcare Practitioner at Muirfield Place and Muirfield Outreach.
Andrew’s journey with social care started when he was a boy. ‘I’ve always had an interest in care. I saw my mum caring for my brother – he had a heart condition, and he passed away. My mum had the same heart condition. Then she had a major stroke and lost her memory and speech, and was really weak down her right hand side, and I was a young carer for her; I’ve always seen people caring for people in my family, and that kind of thing.’ At 16, Andrew’s support for his mum was recognised when he was awarded Young Citizen of the Year; he presented Princess Anne with flowers at the opening of Ayr Carers Centre, which had been set up to offer support for carers.
At 18 Andrew wanted a change, so moved to Tenerife with his partner, working in bars and on cruise ships. When he came back he stayed in customer services, working at Gala bingo. ‘I was figuring out what I wanted to do with my life, and care just seemed like the natural fit. I went to Ayrshire College to do Health and Social Care, and people came in recruiting for The Butterfly Club, which is a summer holiday play scheme; it’s for a lot of the young people who access Muirfield as well.’ From there Andrew worked for Steps and Stages, a project similar to Muirfield outreach. ‘That closed, but I’d already built up a bit of a relationship with some of the parents, and that’s how I ended up working here. Me and one other person were the first people to work for the service, and helped to set it up.’
‘What I like so much about working here is the team is sort of like a little family. Everyone wants the best for the young people that come in; we have really close relationships with the kids and the families…I haven’t worked anywhere like it, it’s amazing.’
Drawing inspiration from his work in social care, Andrew also found the time to write his own children’s book, ‘The Pug and the Slug’. ‘I’ve got a little dog at home, he’s Hugo the pug. A lot of the kids in here like getting read stories, so I thought I would write a book. It’s about not judging other people before you get to know them; that’s the main story of the book, that everyone’s special in their own way. Obviously the kids who come here are all really special, and they’re all different, so I wanted to write a book that gave that message that that’s ok. And for other kids that don’t have additional support needs, they could hear it and maybe learn not to judge somebody.
Hugo goes through the book and keeps on meeting different characters and he thinks they’re really cool and he wants to be like them. At the end of the book he meets this little slug who wants to be a pug, so he realizes, I’m special, it’s really good to be a pug, I don’t want to be anyone else, I just want to be myself.’ ‘I’m thinking about a sequel. I read it to some of the young people; a young person that’s staying just now, she likes to get it read before she goes to bed. There’s a little line in the book that gets repeated all the way through, and she’ll read it as we go along, she really likes it.’ Andrew read from ‘The Pug and the Slug’ at the Muirfield Easter Open Day back in April, where it went down a treat, and all of the children were given a copy. If you’d like to order a copy for yourself, or a young person you know, head to: https://amzn.to/2XGexCW
Asked about recent highlights, Andrew pointed to the group outings that have been made possible by Children in Need funding. ‘We’ve been to Blair Drummond Safari Park, and Deep Sea World in North Queensferry. Sometimes their families come as well and enjoy it – when you get all the young people together as a big group, it’s so much fun. We just take over the place – wherever we go, everyone knows Muirfield’s there!