Sharon’s 40-year journey at Active Prospects: spreading smiles and building relationships

This year we are delighted to celebrate Sharon’s 40 years at Active Prospects, who is a shining example of dedication and passion.

For four decades, Sharon Leonard has been part of Active Prospects, a non-profit organisation that provides care and support services to people with learning disabilities and autistic people. Her journey began in 1983 when she joined as a support worker. Little did she know that her job at Active Prospects would not just be a means to earn a living but a lifelong calling that would bring immense joy and fulfilment.

“I started my career in the Manor Hospital which was such a different setting from where we are today and it was extremely busy – very chaotic. It took me a little while to settle down into my role, but I loved my work immediately.”

What sets Sharon apart is her passion for building relationships and spreading smiles. Over the last forty years, she has gone above and beyond her job description to make a positive impact on the lives of the people she supports.

“I’m thrilled to be where I am today, surrounded by people who have their own homes and independence. It is great as I can share a laugh and a joke with them – it is the best feeling to see them smile. And I am just there as and when they need me.”

One of Sharon’s most remarkable qualities is her ability to connect with people we support. Like many of our incredible support staff, Sharon understands the needs and aspirations of each person she works with. Whether it’s a friendly chat, a helping hand, or a shoulder to lean on, Sharon is always there with a warm smile and an open heart.

Active Prospects’ CEO, Maria Mills, said, “Sharon has an ability to make everyone feel valued and loved. Her dedication to building relationships has not only enriched the lives of people we support but also created a positive and inclusive work culture. We all believe that working alongside people to improve their lives is the most rewarding job role there is. Thank you for Sharon’s commitment and here’s to many more years. It’s not every day we get to celebrate a colleague who has worked with us for 40 years.”

Sharon’s remarkable journey at Active Prospects is not only a testament to her dedication but also a reflection of the transformative changes in the care and support for people with learning disabilities and autistic people over the past four decades.

When Sharon first started her career, people with learning disabilities and autistic people often lived in large institutions or hospitals, deprived of their privacy, independence, and the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives. The shift towards providing personalised care in the form of supported living and community-based services has been a game-changer. Thanks to the efforts of organisations like Active Prospects and support workers like Sharon, many more people with learning disabilities live independently in their own homes.

We salute Sharon for reaching the remarkable landmark of forty years’ service, and we hope that her passion and skill will continue to make a huge difference to people’s lives for many years to come.

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More than 150 autistic people in Surrey with a mental health need will benefit from an innovative project led by Active Prospects
More than 150 autistic people in Surrey with a mental health need will benefit from an innovative project led by Active Prospects

The project has been funded by a grant from Surrey County Council’s Mental Health Investment Fund, which was

Sharon’s 40-year journey at Active Prospects: spreading smiles and building relationships
Sharon’s 40-year journey at Active Prospects: spreading smiles and building relationships

This year we are delighted to celebrate Sharon’s 40 years at Active Prospects, who is a shining example