Adaobi Akki is our new Service Manager at Woodland Court. Adaobi is originally a teacher which shaped her passion for working with, and helping, people with complex needs. We asked Adaobi about her care career journey, how she is settling into her new role, and her vision for the service.
Woodland Court is our specialist supported living care service for adults in Surrey.
Can you tell us a bit about your care career journey?
“I am originally from Nigeria and my care career started in the UK over 29 years ago. I started out as a support worker for people with learning disabilities before moving on to work in mental health in a community resettlement service for people leaving hospital — this was extremely rewarding.
“After a few years, I went back into working in a learning disabilities service as a Deputy Manager and then registered manager where I stayed for 21 years. While in this role, the service I was working at became a pilot service and changed from a residential care home to a supported living service. This gave me the opportunity to complete a diploma and executive diploma in management studies. My executive diploma research project focused on the supported living model, and it helped my employer to differentiate the services they provided, which as a result added more value to the residents’ lives.
“I then went on to work for a number of different supported living and mental health services and now I am at Active Care Group.
“My previous roles afforded me the opportunity to build on my experiences of the various care fields.”
Where does your passion for working in learning disability and mental health services come from?
“I am originally a teacher which shaped my passion for working with, and helping people with learning disabilities. While I was a teacher, I undertook a master’s degree in counselling which focused on the integration of people with learning disabilities into mainstream schools. I was really passionate about making sure people with learning disabilities would have the guidance and support they required in a mainstream school.
“As my career progressed within learning disabilities, I became interested in mental health too, so I went and explored it further. I loved learning about mental health and that’s when I decided to work in a mental health service to gain first-hand experience.”
Can you give us an overview of the services that are provided at Woodland Court?
“Woodland Court is a supported living service for people with learning disabilities, mental health, acquired brain injury, physical disabilities, and more. Our emphasis is on a multi-disciplinary approach to care working closely with other professionals in providing responsive care and support services.”
How are you settling into your role at Woodland Court?
“I have been at Woodland Court for about a month now. It is a fast-paced environment, and I am very impressed with how the staff care for, and strive to meet the needs of the residents. The staff are friendly and warm and are making a difference. The reception I received when I started was good, especially from my Operations Director. The team is great!
“I love getting to know the residents, the staff, and understanding the processes in place. I’m enjoying thinking about how to best meet the targets we have and how to improve on resident involvement and co-production.
“I have also been meeting families and I am looking forward to my first friends and family forum.”
Can you tell us a bit about the friends and family forum?
“It is a monthly meeting at Woodland Court where staff and family members of the residents come together to discuss any changes or updates at the service.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone to be open, honest and to express what they think is working well at the service, and what they would like to see in the future.”
What is your vision for Woodland Court and where would you like it to be in the next few years?
“My vision is to consolidate and embed excellent improvements aimed at providing the best care and support outcomes for the residents. I also want families, friends, and referrers to be proud that residents are at this service.
“I want to contribute and drive Woodland Court as a place where staff would like to come to work.
“My target is to improve our Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating and to celebrate when we do!”
And finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?
“I love to cook and watch soaps.
“I have a husband and a daughter and I’m in the process of adopting. I take pride in looking after my family.”