Celebrating You Can Care week: How Niaill is making a difference

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Kelly Corcoran - Digital Communications Officer
Friday 16 February 2024
Niaill Whatmore

For almost two years, Niaill has been working for Action for Children. During his time here, his career has seen many highlights.

Niaill is the Team Leader at East Farm Cottage children’s home in Northumberland. And during his time at Action for Children, he's been making a difference to children and young people's lives across the North East.

We recently spoke to Niaill about his decision to begin a career in the care sector and what his work at Action for Children means to him.

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Wanting to give back

Both Niaill's mum and wife were adopted at a very young age. And his parents were foster carers during his childhood. This made Niaill "very much a part of their caring experience."

These early life experiences directly impacted his career. Initially, he began a career in both adult and youth education before moving to the charity sector, where he worked for over 15 years.

We asked Niaill why he chose to move into the care sector:

“I wanted to use my skills to support young people who need adult support, while working in a sector that reflected my childhood memories of my parents' fostering. But I also wanted to give something back to the sector that gave my mum and wife so many happy memories.”

The last 20 months at Action for Children have been a bit of a whirlwind, but a thoroughly enjoyable one.

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Making a difference where it matters

Niaill has certainly given back. Last year, he helped the North East Fundraising Team secure a sponsor to buy bikes for three children’s homes in the region. One of these was East Farm, where they managed to get four bikes.

His motivation was to make sure the young people had lots of fond memories to look back on.

Creating friendships

Securing bikes for the young people in the North East isn’t the only way Niaill has gone above and beyond. Just before Christmas, he also took a young person ‘den building’ in the local forest. The experience helped engage the young person. But it also helped them bond with other children living at East Farm.

When describing the experience, Niaill said:

“They spent lots of their Christmas holidays building dens. And they're now planning a sleep out for when the weather improves. The most rewarding and important thing though is how the activity helped them bond as peers. It means they find it easier to live together.”

Teenage friends in park

Going the extra mile

Niaill Whatmore in his Action for Children t-shirt

In February, Niaill took on Fatima's 29 mile challenge to help reach more children and young people in the UK.

The campaign was led by our celebrity ambassador, Fatima Whitbread, with the aim to walk, run, or jog 29 miles across the leap-year month.

This is all before undertaking the Great North Run later in the year.

Spotlighting You Can Care Week

You Can Care Week shines a light on the inspiring people like Niaill who work in the care sector. In celebration of this, we asked what #YouCanCare Week means to him. And what he would say to someone thinking about a career in care.

‘You Can Care Week’ for me highlights that everyone can care, even if not in the care sector. There’s a caring attitude in everyone and we need to encourage everybody to embrace theirs.

"But I’d also say that, from my experience, a career in care is one that offers so many opportunities. Training, apprenticeships, and development are all part of the process. And working for Action for Children has given me the opportunity to enhance my skills and progression.

It’s fast paced and everyday is different. But you’re likely to get a highly supportive team that will help you at every step of your career. The teamwork is fantastic!

But most of all, I love seeing the young people I work with make real progress through the opportunities we give them.

To anyone thinking about a career in the care sector, I would say “go for it. The sector needs people like you!”

We are so grateful for the work and dedication shown by people like Niaill and the difference they make for children and young people across the UK. Last year, we helped 765,905 children, young people, and families in the UK. And it is through the dedication of our supporters and the work of people like Niaill that we're able to do so.

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