“As an actor I was trained to look silly, have fun and lose my inhibitions …… which I think is really handy when working with children,” says Luke Dart, who joined Noah’s Ark in May as one of our expanding team of Specialist Carers. Luke spoke to us one week into his new role.
Although previously working as a teaching assistant in a special school, Luke originally trained as a professional actor specialising in musical theatre – he’s appeared on the West End stage in Grease 2, and (his dream show) Anything Goes in Highgate.
He told Noah’s Ark: “It’s meant a step back from the acting, but working at the special school, something was awoken inside me. I’d never thought of it as a career, but realised it was making me happy in my day-to-day work.
“When I met Hayley (Manley) and Emma (Pleass, from Noah’s Ark Care Team) at interview, we got on really well and the things they were saying resonated with me; I like the charity and what it stands for.
“I’m really excited about getting out there and spending time with the children!”
Luke’s fellow Specialist Carer Lucinda Direkoglou took up her post at the end of April. Lucinda was also previously a teaching assistant, in a reception class. “I’ve always had an interest in working with children. I used to do some fundraising for Noah’s Ark so it was very appealing to me to come work here.”
For Lucinda a high point has been joining Noah’s Ark as the new hospice building starts to become a reality – something that was being talked about six years ago when she began fundraising for the charity, as a year 11 student, organising a non-uniform day at her school.
So far Lucinda has been meeting the team and shadowing her fellow Specialist Carers. She’s even been on a bear hunt with the Monkeys children’s group – one of Noah’s Ark’s family activities. “It was lovely,” she said: “I’m just really enjoying every aspect of the job so far, and the team have made me so welcome.
“You have to enjoy what you do – and if you enjoy working with children this is perfect organisation for you!”
Luke and Lucinda will be joined by more new Specialist Carers and Registered Nurses this summer.
Noah’s Ark Specialist Carers are ‘specialists’ because they deliver care and play activities which are individually tailored to each child or young person. Specialist Carers are trained by a paediatric nurse in the clinical skills needed for lone work with children and young people. Play is central to their role and they turn up at each visit with toys or activities to make each session a fun, inspiring or comforting experience.