The bond between Jacob and Rosie is clear to see. Jacob is gregarious, inquisitive, and bright – while Rosie is energetic, caring, and empathetic. Rosie is a support worker for Jacob at Chailey Heritage Foundation (CHF). Their unique partnership is helping Jacob work towards his full potential, and Rosie to develop her career which she balances with her family responsibilities.

Jacob Antoniades is 20. After leaving Chailey Heritage School, he started accessing the many support services that the charity offers to help with the vital transition from education to the next stage of his life. Jacob has cerebral palsy and dystonia – a movement disorder that causes muscles to contract involuntarily. He has been part of the Chailey family since he was only 17 months old, when CHF used to have a nursery on-site. When Rosie Boys first started to support Jacob, she was struck by his sense of fun and adventure – and a desire to experience many of the activities CHF has to offer.

Rosie said, “From the start, Jacob has always made it clear that he wants to have fun and live life to the full. When I see him in the morning, I ask him what he wants to do and he blinks once for yes and twice for no. No two days with Jacob are the same! One day we could be at the beach, the next singing and playing in the music room. His energy is inspiring and this spontaneity is just one of the things that I love about my job as a support worker.”

Rosie joined CHF after working in the mainstream primary school sector for many years. Her interest in special educational needs led her to apply for a role where she could develop her qualifications whilst working the hours that could fit around her own busy family life. But it is the special bond she has developed with Jacob that has elevated her job. She said, “Working with young people with extremely complex needs like Jacob means I must be at top of my game every day. When he succeeds – I succeed. It is so rewarding to see him grow in confidence and the improvement in his social skills has been amazing since we started working together. I love being in such a positive environment with the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better.”

Supported by CHF, Rosie is currently studying for her NCSE Level 3 Diploma (Children and Young People workforce in Social Care England). But she is able to balance the rigours of academic study by having fun with Jacob – as they navigate his future together.

Jacob’s parents Karen and Marios see first-hand the difference that Rosie makes to their son’s life. Karen said, “Having Rosie support Jacob daily and having everything on one site at CHF really helps with Jacob’s emotional and physical wellbeing because he likes consistency and structure. It doesn’t matter which of the services he’s using – whether it’s the Learning and Skills Centre (LSC) or the Clinical Services, because it is all in one place it’s all the same to him, which helps him to feel relaxed and content.”

Marios added, “We have really noticed positive changes in Jacob since Rosie became one of his main support worker. He is more confident and really enjoys all the days out and activities. We are so grateful to CHF and to Rosie for helping Jacob as he moves into adult life. We’re excited to see what they achieve next!”

Joanne Peppard, Director of People & Culture at CHF, said, “Our team of support workers are life changers. The work that people like Rosie do every day is helping our children and young people to fulfil their potential. We are always looking for new team members to carry on this amazing work. Anyone who is interested in finding out more about a career with CHF can contact us via our website www.chf.org.uk or come and see us in person at our Careers Event on Saturday, 2nd March from 10 am to 1 pm at Chailey Heritage Foundation. We would love to meet you and explore the ways you could make a difference to the lives of children and young people like Jacob.”