Stuart, support worker standing smiling with his bike

Making kindness go the extra mile – Stuart’s inspiring people award

As an inclusive employer, we look to recruit people who want to help others #GetMoreFromLife, but being kind doesn’t only benefit your CV!

Five benefits of kindness include:

  • Production of endorphins – the brain’s natural painkiller
  • Boosts to happiness and well-being
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower cortisol (the body’s stress hormone) by 23%
  • Slower aging.

After speaking to one of our Inspirational Award Finalists:

Stuart Gardiner, a support worker for Yeovil Community Outreach, we have to agree. People say he looks younger in his 50s than in his 30s!

So why is that? Stuart puts it down to his love of cycling, but we reckon it is down to a bit of kindness too!

Stuart’s award is for (amongst other things) kindness.

Stuart had a series of blows where his kindness could have deserted him, but never did, see his Inspiring People Nomination below:

Stuart’s Inspiring People Nomination:

“Stuart was in a road incident, which not only knocked his confidence, but also left him needing surgery to rebuild his arm. Getting back to work presented Stuart with a number of challenges. Prior to this Stuart had a clean bill of health and no time off sick.

“Stuart did not let this injury affect him and continued to show great will and determination to deliver care to the people we support and to provide a kindness shown to those around him.

“Stuart’s generosity and motivation sometimes goes unnoticed but we feel that Stuart has been there to support his friends in the team.

Chris – colleague.

Ryan, a person Stuart supports, would like to add:

“Stuart shares a positive outlook on life, kindness to others around him, and is sweet like candy”

The more you surround yourself with kind and inspiring people, the more inspired and kind you become.

As you can see, Stuart’s kindness inspired his team to nominate him. Kindness, like inspiration, is contagious, in a good way. It’s common to underestimate the importance of the company we keep, but being around the right people raises us. When we surround ourselves with positive people, they help us to be our best selves by osmosis.

“You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”

-Jim Rhon, Mentor to Tony Robbins

In 2021 Stuart was involved in a hit and run he was lucky to survive.

Stuart was riding his bike when a delivery van smashed into his back, sending him flying across the road. His helmet saved his life. Not only that, but the first operation Stuart had did not work well. He lost 40% of the movement in his arm and needed to undergo it again, now he has regained 78% movement.

The trauma left Stuart shaken, he had have been a support worker for 35 years and never been off sick for more than a few days –with no sick days at all in the last four years. Now, he could not move or work as well as he used to. Even just pushing wheelchairs would cause Stuart pain.

“It was a terrifying experience, but I had counselling and got back on my bike. Being without my bike is like me being without me. I recommend cycling to anyone. It is good for mental health. It is good for the environment. It is a known scientific fact that cyclists are rarely ill; it prolongs your life and keeps you younger for longer.

” I do a lot of charity bike rides; this year, I did a 500-mile cycle around Somerset to collectively raise £180,000 for Bone Cancer Research. Next year I plan to cycle 875 miles from Valencia to Milan for Cancer Research. But you do not need to do hundreds of miles. Just 10 minutes a day, every day, makes a massive difference to your life.”

So, What did Stuart have to say about his nomination for kindness?

“I felt a bit like a fish out of water! Do not get me wrong, it is nice to be recognised, but if the people we support recognise I am doing a good job, that’s all I need. It is 100% about the people we support. My job is to make them happy, so I try to put everything else behind me and deliver the best care possible.”

The people we support are so inspiring to Stuart, he says they are some of the most wonderful people he has ever met.

“A hit and run, two operations and five hundred miles are nothing compared to what the people we support have to go through – absolutely nothing. The people we support give me the support, so if I can find a way to help them live their dreams, then together, we will do it.”

We asked Stuart what he would say to someone who was thinking of joining us:

We are not here for us. We are here for them. Your heart must be in it. You need a good sense of humour and buckets of kindness; you really need to be kind, if you have that go for it!

Like cycling, kindness is good for you.

Would you like to spend your days giving kindness the extra mile? Head to our quiz here to see if you would make an inspirational support worker.

Or perhaps you know someone who already works for us and deserves an inspiring people award? If so, make their day, nominate them here.

The Dimensions group (which Discovery is a part of) has been officially accredited as one of the UK’s Best Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute for two years running. Additionally, this year, we received a “Wellbeing” award and a “Great Workplace for Women” award.