Clive Woodley is a Carer at Duckyls Farm who has been teaching music to the residents for eight years after an impromptu phone call from one of the staff that led him to first come and visit. He spoke about his love of the job, how as he found his passion for this work later in life, and how he wants to inspire others to do the same.
Q. Clive, could you tell us a bit about your background before working at Duckyls?
I began my career in the City of London working as a stockbroker for five years before joining a merchant bank in foreign exchange dealing, but I left after deciding it wasn’t for me. I moved to the Lake District with a view to working in forestry. Unfortunately, while I was up there I had a motorbike accident, and due to my injuries wasn’t able to undertake physical work so I moved back down south, eventually becoming a commercial photographer. I worked for businesses on architectural product shoots and mainly commercial work, including the odd wedding!
Q. What brought you to Duckyls Farm?
There was someone who used to teach music with the residents and then he left. One of the care workers phoned me one day and asked me if I would like to come down to help out with music sessions and see how it goes. So, eight years ago, off I went to Duckyls Farm and played for an hour with the residents. They enjoyed my company so asked if I would I like to come more regularly. I found it a bit daunting at first as I wasn’t used to it, but I just got on with it and it got easier. I had previous experience of teaching piano and guitar however so wasn’t totally new to the experience. I got together backing tracks and played them to the residents to get an idea as to what they liked to listen to, and now we use YouTube to listen along to the music and play. The average age of residents is around 41 but they have very eclectic tastes and like music from all eras so there is a lot to cover. Over time, I increased my working day there in order to socialise and get to know the residents better. I eventually kept my whole day free and now I stay most of the day – and the rest is history!
Q. What motivates you about your role and what do you enjoy most?
Definitely the interaction with residents. The bond has also become stronger over time. I love being there and call all the residents my friends. Obviously I enjoy playing music and watching their development and interest grow during each session. I use various percussion instruments and they pick out what they want to create different sounds - which is really fun. I have someone that plays drums now too so everyone chooses the instrument they want to play. It’s incredible how astute they are and how well they pick things up by ear to translate into sounds. One resident even plays the air guitar! My drummer sings too. The look on his face is wonderful when he is playing and singing – there is so much enjoyment. It’s absolutely incredible and I have noticed a huge change in all their confidence over the years.
Q. You came into this role at the age of 60. What would you say to other people in similar situations who may be interested in teaching people with learning disabilities?
I would encourage anyone to do this. I have spoken to my own friends about it and family and friends think it is a great thing to do. I have been there for eight years now and am now taking more qualifications via the West Sussex Council website in order to work more closely with the residents. I let them find their own feet to discover what they love to play. It’s all about their enjoyment. I came to this role after a lot of life experience and feel I get more out of it as a result. In all honesty I wish I’d started teaching years before I did as it’s such a privilege. It’s life changing!
If you are interested in becoming a Care Worker for Diagrama, please click here to find out more.
To find out more about Duckyls Farm and the work we do, please click here.