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Welcome To Cowley Andrea Leadsom

July 17, 2016

I’ve been getting into a bit of a tizzy all week about the appallingly offensive statement from Andrea Leadsom when someone asked for her wisdom on employing care staff. Here’s what she said:

“As an employer we’re not, let’s face it, most of us don’t employ men as nannies, most of us don’t,” she said. “Now you can call that sexist, I call that cautious and very sensible when you look at the stats. Your odds are stacked against you if you employ a man. We know paedophiles are attracted to working with children. I’m sorry but they’re the facts.”

There is definitely a shortage of male support workers in the industry and the former Prime Ministerial candidate is hardly likely to attract more with filth like that.

It’s all part of the dangerous woman’s belief system that fuelled her Brexit fire and one that had a strange appeal to many of the leave voters. Because let’s face it, now that we’ve got our country back and send all the overseas care staff back “home”, the industry would collapse. In nine years of advertising and interviewing staff to join Steven’s support team, there have only been two British applicants.

At the conference on Friday, we were discussing Ms Leadsom’s comments and one of the delegates remarked that she felt that two of Steven’s photos that I have posted have incredibly powerful images. It’s these two:


The delegate went on to say that they are powerful because it is extremely rare to see an all male support team. And, daring to speak its name, they are mostly black as well. Lots of conversations I’ve heard before and since Brexit has revealed that a huge number of people couldn’t give a monkeys about the East European workers. It’s the black faces they want shot of.

The four honorary Cowley men who support Steven are miracles that entered our lives. They have an interest in Steven that I have never encountered from any other support worker. I think they love him. Steven is a very lucky young man to have that love and I am blessed that they are around.

It would be hard for us to have female support workers. Steven is assessed as needing 2:1 when he is out in the community and since most of his activities involve visiting a changing room, it wouldn’t be practical or safe to have a female worker for those times.

At the ATU, Steven got into terrible trouble by asking for male staff to do his personal care. It was never respected. One day I arrived for a visit to be told that one of the female staff was down in A&E. It was an all female rota that morning and she had drawn the short straw and was allocated Steven’s bathing. When she tried to put his eczema cream on his groin, Steven kicked out. She tripped over the rug in his bedroom and hit her head on the door. It could all have been avoided if Steven’s wishes had been respected.

When Steven came home, the support agency we had at the time tried to introduce a female worker. The plan was that she would be used to teach cooking skills every Wednesday. It was pointless and also meant I had to sacrifice hours elsewhere during the week to fit her into the schedule. It wasn’t even a politically correct move – she was the sister of the agency’s owner. Just recently, both Steven and I have been learning to make cakes and pies under the instructions of the chap sitting between Steven and me in the spa pool.

Ms Leadsom – men can care. Men can love. Men can show empathy without getting their dicks out.


From → Social Care

  1. I believe Leadsom was talking about children, not adults (and especially men) but it’s still a pretty appalling statement. That said, there is an African-American life coach type called Iyanla Vanzant who has a fan among my friends on FB who keeps posting her rather dubious advice (among other gender-stereotype-laden conservative quackery), and she tells women never to leave their daughters alone with any man, even her brother — always make sure there is a woman present.

    I’ve also seen a letter to an advice column in this country from a man who wanted to be a primary school teacher. The reply told him not to bother — it’s female dominated and as a man there will always be suspicion against him.

    But you also get male carers inappropriately imposed on women and girls. I was reading a feature about a young girl in Colorado who broke her neck skiing, and in the subsequent rehab a male nurse or whatever was assigned to teach her how to catheterise. Completely inappropriate, and I can’t believe they didn’t have any women available for that job. As she’s paralysed from the shoulders down, she couldn’t kick the man (or his boss) into next week, but it doesn’t mean she was comfortable.

    • yes you certainly do get male carers inappropriately imposed on women and girls . My daughter in her 20s had to repeatedly refuse to be washed by a male carer in neuro rehab, it took every ounce of strength from her as her speech was severely compromised and she had little independent movement. The carer threatened she would wait until last for female support and she should let him proceed, she continued to state her preference and waited. Previously two porters had exchanged banter between themselves when transferring her, she was so upset and felt vulnerable. Men of any creed or colour are capable of providing care but preference should always be respected . Women will say who they feel comfortable with to support themselves and their children, for many that will be other women. Call it sexist it is reality.

  2. Shirley Buckley permalink

    The team of Zimbabwians who looked after Martin 2005 to 2007 were just lovely – thought of him as one of their extended family, and they also treated me with great respect – I wasn’t ever allowed to carry a bag of any sort. Eventually the psychiatrist and OS tried to get at them, simply because they really cared about Martin. I really enjoyed having two large black men in tow – bless them

  3. Janet permalink

    Trying to link the to leave voters is appalling I have never met anyone who has issues with male carers I have met lots of male carers in my time who are wonderful, stop trying to make this a case fr remaining in the EU

  4. Magi permalink

    I love the pictures of Steven with his team. It just epitomises what good care looks like.

    • emily permalink

      Steven looks so happy and relaxed. Isn’t that the result that we should all be striving for?

  5. Fiona permalink

    As stupid as the US states that ban trans people using gender appropriate public lavatories. Ignorance and fear- which are dangerous when espoused by legislators and others in positions of power.

  6. I don’t think sex makes a difference to the work done, as it is prescribed as cheap as possible and itinerant.

    Kindness, familiarity, time and genuine interests in the residents, are what those trapped in supported living institutions would want, although often so drugged up they do not care.

    But, as the job is prescribed , itinerant, tick boxing, medication administering, and usually understaffed, see accounts of workers in Lifeways now Cambian a main independent living providers here

    Even such basics will be difficult to obtain.

  7. Mik goodram permalink

    Sexual abuse of people with kearning disabilities happens and yes the vast majority of The abusers will be men. However most men are not sexual abusers. Simple procedures and proper training are the best protection. Not employing men would reduce the quality of life of lots of people. As demonstrated here.

  8. Mary O'Toole permalink

    I think Ms Leadsom was referring to nannies and care of young children? But plenty of yummy mummies like ‘mannies’ too! Child abuse (all kinds) tends to be mostly within families, I think from the stats, and often with step-relations. The whole dystopian adventure of finding care/support for ‘children’ with disabilities who are adult sized adolescents, or indeed much older adults is a journey most ppl (politicians inc) have no idea about. We are all grateful when it all comes together well…Steven’s support staff maybe wouldn’t suit my sister but her staff team includes men, although her personal care is female. Sadly we’ve lost some older female members of staff who have known her a long time…really must try to recruit across all age ranges. Many different skills come into play, at different lie stages.

  9. I honestly know very few families that abuse, as most probably don’t, because they have a lifelong bond with the person. It seems however popular for certain service people to accuse ‘families’.
    Step- relations often don’t have a bond, so more likely to abuse.
    I worked as an advocate for years, and met all different types of families, and devoted siblings.

    The abuse cycle in care environments is described in many texts; workers not respecting the person to the point of abusing him or her, getting a violent reaction back from the person (understandable) that makes them see him or her as less than human, making them justify their abuse, and so abuse goes on.

    Steven looks very happy in the photos, and it doesn’t matter what background carers are from as none of us knows who will be there for us.
    Why only two white applicants? Why are white people less likely to do these jobs? Who is going to look after them when they’re old??
    I do have some white carers, but neither they or the black workers do a good job, I’m sad to say. But they get on with each other.
    All are equally not interested in understanding my child. It’s only my discovering neglect recently that has made them recently eat humble pie.

  10. emily permalink

    You never cease to amaze me Mr Neary and the system never stops shocking me. Keep up the great work, you and your male support team. Steven is thriving.

  11. Pauline Thomas permalink

    Personally if I had been rich enough, when my children were young, to employ a nanny I would have not employed a man Too risky. Just in case he was an abuser of children. Sod political correctness. I would not have taken those sort of chances with my young children

    On the other hand, I totally agree that men make good carers. My son has had several men, black and white, who are currently supporting him in his return to day services. They are kind. Woman do not have the monopoly in kindness. Neither do white people. He has varied mix of people in the day centre and in respite. Most of them are kind. All of them come from many different countries.

  12. A few months back I was fortunate to meet a male carer from the UK…. he is actually Scottish. He is a man in his early sixties and he is a carer at a small house in Birmingham (think he has now retired). There are four autistic men in the house and he is/was mainly responsible for one of the them. Well, when my Nick (age 17) met him, there was an instant connection (my son is non verbal). I was blown away with the gentleman and the compassion he showed and the way he engaged with my son. Men carers are the bomb.

  13. Helene permalink

    Mrs Leadsom’s comments about motherhood were pretty crass too. Angela Merkel is childless yet in Germany she is nicknamed ‘Mutti’, ‘Mummy’ (look out for the caricature of Angela Leadsom in the Telegraph as ‘The Mummy’). Mrs Merkel can be very caring too: just watch the video of her and the Palestinian teenage refugee, Neem. She wasn’t doing it for the cameras. And I admire how she’s stood her ground in the refugee crisis: if these people were blond haired, blue eyed, pale skinned Caucasians, arriving from the Baltic States or Scandinavia, they wouldn’t face so much rejection. Although back in the 1990’s I did hear Berliners referring to Polish migrant workers as ‘die Ratten’, ‘the rats’.
    I don’t think children have any issue being cared for by people of colours, of male gender, or of a certain age (as in, grandparents or great grandparents). They learn to fear ‘others’ as they grow older, taking cues from the adults around them. When I was a toddler, I had a big maternal Caribbean lady as a nanny for a while. When I was introduced to my new nanny, a white, I just turned up my nose at her and pronounced ‘I not want it. It’s not brown’.
    I live in a part of the UK where there are plenty of care homes and assisted living facilities, for elderly people, with or without Alzheimers, for people with Down’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy… and for people somewhere on the autism spectrum. Most of the staff who work in these places are from Eastern Europe or the Philippines. I am quite sure British people, even unemployed ones, won’t fight to get their jobs: they all want to work in an office, at a computer, in a suit. And don’t expect them to work too hard either. They would never accept to do such hard work as care work (not just the physical side of thing, it can be emotionally draining too, especially if you work in an institution), for such a low salary (if you hire a carer through an agency, the agency keeps at least 2/3 of the hourly fee). Besides, care work is not a 9-5 Monday to Friday job: most people these days won’t work unsocial hours.
    I love the pics of Steve and all the team in the bath. I don’t think a female carer would be such a good idea, especially when going out and about: if Steve should ever have a ‘tantrum’, you want someone big and strong who can control him, or at least make passers-by feel that everything is under control. Else someone might call the police and Steve may end up in ATU for being a risk to himself and other people. A big Caribbean or Black woman might be able to ‘restrain’ Steve: care homes tend to recruit a lot of them as they can lift elderly people more easily than us stringy whites. However if he doesn’t like being ‘handled’ by women, I don’t think imposing one on him would be fair 🙂
    Well done for learning how to feed yourself, it is never too late. Another good reason to hire staff from outside the UK: we do learn to cook from scratch overseas (and getting food sometimes involves picking up your eggs, digging up your carrots, and even catching your chicken or your trout!). Try to venture beyond the pie/pastry thing: tortillas (Spanish omelette0, stir fries, paella, beef brisket with winter veggies in a slow cooker?
    Best wishes to you and Steve.

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