Jessica Mason builds new career caring for inspiring children

A Poynton mum of six who was so shorn of confidence that she wouldn’t drive on the motorway, has passed her first exam in 34 years, landed her dream job and ushered a family through the most painful thing in life – the death of their baby son.

Jess used the lockdown closure of the local school where she worked at a breakfast club to reassess and rethink her life and applied to become a carer for Lagan’s Foundation. And within four months, Jess was helping one of those families create precious memories before their baby boy passed away.

“The family were terrified of contracting COVID” remembers the 50-year-old, “the children weren’t going to school, and dad used to make any excuse not to venture out. I felt privileged to be let into their lives and I managed to persuade them to go to a play area where mum went down the slide with baby – what a memory that will now be.”

Tragically, the 18-month-old boy who was born with a bleed on the brain and epilepsy, lost his life shortly afterwards.

But that heartbreak hasn’t deterred Jess, who spends each day getting a six-year-old with a rare chromosomal disorder ready for school. She also visits twice a week in the evenings and has become a firm friend. “The family has only just moved here so that they can be close to Manchester Children’s Hospital and mum’s parents live abroad” revealed Jess, “that meant they felt very isolated, particularly during lockdown. Although she is in a chair and cannot speak, the girl is such an amazing personality who loves listening to the radio and I like her brother who does crafts with us, because he thinks I am only eleven years old!”

When she went for her intensive training to join Lagan’s, Jess remembered being the most senior person in the room – as younger people begin their journey to successful journeys into social care careers with the charity. But Jess’ life experience, which includes growing up on a farm and working with horses gives her a distinct advantage and she admits, “the children see me as another mum and the parents as a friend they can confide in.”

Recently, single mum Jess has become a grandmother, though the birth was not easy and offered a few parallels with Lagan’s children. Said Jess: “It was a long labour and he had to go on oxygen. But I not only had my own family to help get me through it but the family of carers at Lagan’s. Thankfully, he is now on the mend.”