Jennie Cooke: Outreach Worker

Jennie joined Carers Oxfordshire in November 2021 as an Outreach Worker for East Oxfordshire including Bicester and Kidlington.

She is highly qualified in Health and Social Care with a Postgraduate Diploma in Dementia Studies, Level 3 in Health and Social Care, a Diploma in Crisis Counselling, and a Mental Health First Aid Qualification.

She brings with her twenty years of experience working in Health and Social Care. Her first role was a Home Visits Officer working with refugees “I’m used to working with people who are quite traumatised. That’s how I got interested in mental health.” During this role, she visited newly arrived asylum seekers and talked them through practicalities including how to register for schools and doctor surgeries. She also worked with them to make referrals to The Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. “All the interviewing I did. It helps with this job, there’s nothing people can say that will shock me.”

In the past, she worked for the Alzheimer’s Society, where she supported many carers. “I’m interested in the brain, psychology. That’s how I got into dementia.” She has also worked for a homecare company as a Dementia Specialist.

Jennie worked as a Service Coordinator for The Red Cross’ Home from Hospital service. “I managed a team of staff and volunteers who helped people coming out of hospital settle back home. It was for those that were more vulnerable, older people, and disabled. We helped with practical tasks including making sure they had shopping in, housework and keeping them company. The aim was to make sure people didn’t bounce back into hospital.”

Her other roles include working as a social prescriber, a paid carer, a social care trainer and several jobs within home care. She said, “I know all the different sides within a care organisation”.

Outside of work, Jennie has been an unpaid carer for her grandmother “I can see the other side of being a carer, not just the professional side. I lived with her for a few years and then cared for her when she had to go into a care home. When I was living with her I took her to appointments and did day-to-day living tasks like a lot of our carers do.”

Jennie says about working at Carers Oxfordshire “I enjoy the difference that we make. I’ve just got off the phone with someone who used the carer payment we processed to get away for the first little break on their own. Just to hear the difference it’s made to them, feeling reinvigorated. It makes such a difference to people’s lives. The help that we can give. I really enjoy it. I’ve worked with carers in every role I’ve done. Having been a carer myself, I feel a special connection, so when I saw the job and it was in an area I’d want to work. It seemed perfect timing.”

She works Monday to Wednesday 9 am to 5 pm.