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A Day In The Life Of... Kelly Baxter

This is the first in a series of Day in the Life of blogs we're running to give an insight into the team here at MVDA.
Kelly Baxter is Project Lead at We Care You Care, the support campaign for Carers across South Tees which is hosted by MVDA.

How long have you been at MVDA?

I have worked at MVDA for seven years during which time I have moved house twice, had two children, got engaged, lead on three unique projects, worked throughout a pandemic, met, and worked alongside some brilliant people, grown a lot in confidence and learnt a hell of a lot about myself. I have been Project Lead on We Care You Care for the last two and half years.

What did you do before you worked here?

Before joining MVDA initially to work on the Ageing Better Middlesbrough project I was part of a small team at a Disability Action Group in Whitby where I managed several projects including inclusive sports and leisure activities and employability coaching.

What time do you normally get up?

I start the day around 6am with a strong black coffee to get me through the intense morning negotiations of what my boys want for breakfast, demands generally consist of “surprise me” or “a breakfast selection” and there are only so many ways to make fruit faces or present cereal and toast.

What’s your morning routine before leaving the house?

I work three days a week, two of which are currently from home and one in the office. If I am not doing the school run (literally we tend to run) you will find me somewhere in between loading the dishwasher and laptop and unloading the washing machine before a second coffee to start the day in our home office (a desk surrounded by Paw Patrol, Pokemon and Lego in the small spare bedroom).


Kelly's desk at home

Describe a typical morning at MVDA.

I tend to start my working day by responding to emails and creating a priority ‘to-do list’ which seems to generate more and more actions throughout the day with few being ticked off. If I am not attending a South Tees Carers Forum meeting or leading the Forum Task Group for recognising carers in the wider community, I am likely to be updating the website and Facebook page with the latest news locally and nationally relevant to unpaid care. I am in regular contact with local organisations providing direct services to carers and work with them to promote activities and events they are hosting for South Tees carers.

What do you do for lunch? Got any favourite dishes or recommended cafes you go to?

Lunch largely depends on how big my ‘to-do list’ is and far too often ends up being more coffee and half a pack of fig rolls (not at all healthy and would not recommend!) When I work from the office on Thursdays, I tend to have a jacket potato and make more of a conscious effort to have a lunch break, mainly because I have people to chat to and no house chores staring at me to squeeze into the ‘break’.

Describe a typical afternoon at MVDA

A typical afternoon currently consists of attending events to promote We Care You Care; I recently supported a Redcar & Cleveland Council SEND Families event which was a fantastic opportunity to connect to Parent Carers and showcase how they can utilise the website and highlight the importance of recognising if and when they need advice and support for themselves.

How do you wind down in the evening? What happens after hours?

My evenings tend to consist of family dinner time where my five-year-old shares that he ‘can’t remember’ a single thing he has done at school then proceeds to dominate the mealtime conversation with every detail of the day. When the weather is good, we have a game of football, head to the beach or go for a scooter/ bike ride and drag every minute of the day before bath, story time and bed for the boys. Me and my partner are currently planning our wedding, so the last few hours of the evening include ticking off a couple of wedding prep activities and binge watching any subtitled Scandi drama series or listening to the Parenting Hell podcast.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of my job has got to be connecting with local carers; capturing and sharing their journeys through our platforms to help others recognise they are in an unpaid caring role and highlighting the value of local support. Having the opportunity to speak with local carers keeps me focussed and grounded in my work and also highlights any fundamental issues or gaps which I am able to feedback to the South Tees Carers Forum.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is the pressure I put on myself. I believe in We Care You Care and want it to be a success to make some contribution towards streamlining information for local carers, raising awareness of unpaid care generally and supporting collaborative working.

What’s your biggest work achievement/something you’re most proud of that’s happened in the last 12 months?

I won’t lie I have found this post challenging but there have been so many rewarding moments and achievements. For me, my biggest work achievement comes from conversations I have had with carers at community events who have shared how they have used the We Care You Care website and found inspiration, practical tips or signposting to local services and that makes me feel really proud in what we have achieved to date with the project. 

Thanks Kelly! You can contact her at kelly.baxter@mvdauk.org.uk 
 

Kelly Baxter

MVDA

We Care You Care Project Lead