My Local Life… Wayne Macartney, Support Worker at Aurora’s Meldreth Manor Children’s Home

My Local Life… Wayne Macartney, Support Worker at Aurora’s Meldreth Manor Children’s Home 

Wayne Macartney is a support worker for children with special needs at Aurora’s Meldreth Manor Children’s Home, he’s been working there for just over 12 years. There are two other Aurora services on the same site: Meldreth Manor School (an independent National Autistic Society accredited day school) and Orchard Manor Residential Home (for adults aged 18-30). Children from the home attend Meldreth Manor School so he also accompanies them there for the day too.

Where do you live and how long have you lived there?

I’ve lived in various places in and around Cambridge. I’ve even stayed on a farm but now I live in Melbourn.

Tell us about Aurora, what you offer and your vision
Aurora is dedicated to helping and supporting special needs children to learn and grow at their own pace in a safe environment to achieve goals, life skills and increased levels of independence.

The way I work to achieve that is about adaptability and positivity. I’m really interested in how the brain works and how it can find new ways of doing things using what’s available to it at the time – for example, it can create new routes after surgery to make up for old pathways being lost. It’s amazingly adaptable and shows me that there’s always a way, even if it’s not immediately obvious.

I apply the way that the brain always looks for a new way of doing things when it needs to, to the way I work. I can help young people explore new ways of doing things to find what suits them best. If one way doesn’t fit, I’ll try another. It’s very rewarding work.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your position?
I think it’s finding the best strategies for behavioural challenges. It again goes back to adaptability and finding the way that works best for the child.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your position?
The children here over time start to be able to do things that they’ve never done before. This gives them a great sense of achievement, purpose and sense of fulfilment which is lovely to see.

It’s nice to feel valued where I work too. We all do really important jobs so it’s good to have that recognised with an additional pay rise in January this year for all staff. This means the starting rate for support workers is now £11 an hour, so well above national minimum wage, and there’s progression pay as well.

What’s your favourite local place to eat?
I enjoy going to Nines global buffet in Cambridge. You can eat all you want, it’s cheap and you can fit a lot of your mates in there. My favourites are the Chinese dishes.

What’s been the most valuable life lesson that you’ve learnt?
My most valuable life lesson would be that we’re free to redefine problems. The architecture of a problem can be dismantled and reconstructed into something that works -so no more problem.

What are you looking forward to most this month?
I’m going home to South Africa for three weeks in March and I’m really looking forward to that – lots of food, sea and sunshine!

Which four people you would invite to dinner?
Who would I invite to dinner? Cyril Chauquet, to find out where the best fishing spots in the world are, Wayne Carini so I can go for a drive in his Ferrari, Simon Cowell to see if there’s any hope I can sing and my mom to make sure it doesn’t get too out of hand.

Would you like to join the Aurora team? Find out more at