Watch our video to hear from our staff about working for Autism Anglia.

Continue to read testimonials from both staff and services users...

Julian Williams, Deputy Manager at Jigsaw Opportunities Centre

I have been working for Autism Anglia since 1996. I started with the organisation when we were still the Essex Autistic Society and have witnessed the huge growth which has occurred over the past twenty-one years. I was training to be a nurse with Anglia Polytechnic University in the learning difficulties branch when I first encountered the Essex Autistic Society while working part time for an agency who supplied staff to Peldon Old Rectory. I had been interested in autism since my late teens, having lived with a family who had a son affected by profound autism living in the family home.

I really enjoyed working with the people who lived at the Rectory and was fascinated by their individuality, presenting different personalities and behavioural traits despite having the same ‘autistic’ label attached to them. When a post became vacant I voiced my interest and was offered a job at the Rectory, which, after conferring with my family regarding my future direction, I left my nursing course and accepted.

A few months after starting at the Rectory I was offered the opportunity to transfer to the Jigsaw Centre, a day provision which, at the time, catered for people who lived within our adult residential services. I was keen to move to Jigsaw as the post there was more interactive and I enjoyed being able to help empower people with new skills and opportunities.

Jigsaw in 1996 was a vastly different place to today. We ran just two departments, Woodwork and Art, with PE being an additional activity which took place during breaks in the day or during a week-long booking at the Mersea Youth Camp. Jigsaw like every other part of Autism Anglia has grown substantially over the years.We are now housed in large commercial premises in Colchester and cater for sixty-four people a week, who come to us from our residential services, our supported living service and from outside Autism Anglia, either from other care organisations or from individuals themselves, who live independently within the wider community.

We now offer six different activities, Woodwork, Art & Textiles, PE, Life Skills, PSD (Personal & Social Development) and Computing. Everyone who attends our centre receives a person centred plan to ensure we are meeting their needs as individuals and which also evidences each individual’s progression. We are a very dynamic facility and are always looking at ways to move our service forward to meet the ever changing demands the care industry places on us and we lead the field with innovative ideas and solutions, so life at Jigsaw is never dull!

My years at the Jigsaw Centre progressed quite naturally. I started as an assistant woodwork instructor, progressed to woodwork instructor and then applied for the Deputy Manager post when it became vacant. I enjoy my current role and feel that working at Jigsaw is never a chore.

Autism Anglia has taken the concept behind the Essex Autistic Society and expanded it to meet the ever-changing demands the industry presents. Paula Whiting, Jigsaw’s Manager and myself have over fifty years of experience working for this organisation, which I feel evidences that as an employer, Autism Anglia is one of the best organisations out there.

Samantha Ambrose, Deputy Service Manager, Residential and Supported Living Services

I began working at Peldon Old Rectory in 2004 as part time weekend cover.  I found out about Autism Anglia as a member of my family used to work as a support worker doing awake night shifts and I would love to listen to the stories she came home with. When my college days became less I completed more hours to help out with covering shifts.  We would go on rambles, sailing, beach trips, swimming and visit theme parks. I worked at other houses as a bank staff member which I enjoyed as I got to meet new people and see the difference in those I supported and also the varying abilities of those I was working alongside. This also helped as we then had a transition with a young man I worked with at Coldwell Villa into Peldon Old Rectory, I had a small insight into his likes and ways to work with him to help him settle feeling more settled and a face of familiarity.

I would always help with any extra paperwork and jobs I could and decided to apply for a Duty Officer vacancy, and I got the job!  I then became pregnant but returned after 9 months to my role.  Another pregnancy and I then came back to Peldon Campus and after 6 months I applied for, a Senior Support Worker vacancy as I felt ready to improve my professional development.

I continued in my Senior Support worker role until January 2016, when I put together my first presentation and attended an interview for an Acting Deputy Manager role to cover maternity leave. 13 months later and another presentation and interview under my belt I am now Deputy Service Manager of Residential and Supported Living Services.  

I feel I have gained so much knowledge and have grown as a person and in confidence too in this role.  I have loved the journey I have been on up to now and the people I have met along the way.  In the role I am now in, I have had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and also see the difference in services and the people we support.  Working with a great bunch of people always makes it all so much better!

David Moore, Support Worker – Intensive Service Support

I have not always worked in a supporting role with people with autism, but somehow have always had a path that has led me to caring for people. I have worked as a Support Worker at Autism Anglia for seven years now, but before this, it was a life of many and varied things. From leaving school I studied agriculture and then went into heavy engineering, then I was an HGV driver, and then on to buying and selling trucks, but behind all this was a life of caring for others. I have a daughter who is autistic, and I brought up three autistic children - this taught me patience and understanding.  I spent three years in Romania helping children, this taught me compassion and that much is possible. These are just a few of the things that led me to work in a caring role within Autism Anglia.

I love to go out and give the people we work with as many new experiences as I can to widen their horizons. If every time I leave work and know that I did all I could to enrich and enhance the lives of the people that we work with then I consider that my job is done.

Comments from Guy, a young man who we support

“I find Autism Anglia a very good organisation to be with. They have helped me a lot over the years. I used to be with another care company and attended their day centre which I didn’t like as I didn’t feel listened to and they were very bossy. I was helped by Autism Anglia’s adult services support team and now attend Jigsaw and really enjoy it. I live in a supported living house and now I am really happy. I like Autism Anglia because I think the staff are very good at their jobs, they are very understanding and listen to me and tailor my support around my needs.

I like to go out to my favourite pub and go for walks with my support workers. I also really enjoy going out on ghost hunts at historical places as I am really interested in history and the paranormal. I also love just sitting and having a cup of tea and a chat with my support workers.”