Fulfilled living in later life

Tuesday 3rd November 2020

Meet the Manager… Babi at Shottermill House

Babi Dixon has recently joined us as Care Manager at Shottermill House, Haslemere. She told us about the path that has led her there

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My mother had a huge influence on me growing up. She was not a learned lady but she knew her Bible inside and out – she could quote it chapter and verse – and she was a real prayer warrior.

When I was little, I used to think my mother must have hundreds of children. That was because she used to go out into the marketplace in Lagos, where we lived in Nigeria, and invite all those who were begging to come and eat at our house. She used to tell me, “You are not better than anybody. We are all made the same way. You need to look after people, to hold up those up who are down and bring them to Christ.”

The death of my older brother also affected me deeply. He was 21 and studying to be a doctor, but fell seriously ill. When I went to visit him in hospital, he told me that I should spend my life caring for other people. His words have always stayed with me. He never got to become a doctor, but because of him I’ve dedicated my life to caring for others.

I wanted to become a doctor, too. But my father – who was very high up in the military – wouldn’t spend the money. I came to the UK at the age of 16 to do my A-levels and after that I trained as a psychiatric nurse at Warwick Central Hospital.

I’ve learnt a lot through caring for people struggling with psychological difficulties. You have to be calm and cool, and spend a lot of time listening to people. It’s no use saying to someone ‘this is what you should do.’

I’ve worked as a psychiatric nurse in a number of different settings with people of all ages. These have included Springfield Hospital in Tooting and Life Works, the clinic set up by Don Serrat which is now part of the Priory Group. I’ve supported people with alcohol problems and eating disorders, many from affluent backgrounds. Mental health draws no boundaries – anyone can be affected.

When you see a smile on the face of someone you’ve supported – that’s the biggest reward. You know that you have made a difference. I’ve been on holiday to Dubai (where my daughter lives) and heard a voice calling to me ‘Mama Africa’ and turned round to see one of my former patients standing there. It is wonderful to see people again and know that they are living life.

I’ve always liked working with elderly people. You can learn so much from them. My work with elderly people on a psychiatric unit led me to work with elderly people in care home settings. I’ve had a number of roles with organisations such as Care Homes of Distinction, Care UK and Caring Homes.

I’m so excited to be working for a Christian organisation. I’m looking forward to praying with family members as part of daily life. In other roles, I’ve been discouraged from praying for people. When you have the Holy Spirit, that can be very difficult. He brings a peace of mind that the world can’t bring.

On my first visit to Shottermill House, I was very impressed. Everything was absolutely pristine and bright. I had a some lovely chats with the family members. There was a gentleman sitting there with his wife who wanted to know all about me. And there was another lady from South Africa who was keen to chat. I felt very welcome.

In my new role as Care Manager at Shottermill House, I’m looking forward to learning new things. I’m keen to see how caring in a Christian way can make a difference. As part of my induction, I’ve spent time at Framland in Wantage and Finborough Court in Great Finborough, seeing how things are done at Pilgrims’ Friend Society. Everyone has made me feel very welcome, especially the managers, and I’m very grateful.

Every day when I come into work, I place my hands on my desk and pray for the Holy Spirit to take control of the day. My favourite hymn is ‘Amazing Grace’. When you have the grace of God, you have sufficient, whatever the day may bring.

When I’m not at work, I have my hands full looking after three dogs! There’s Olly, a terrier/pug cross named after Olly Murs, Jessie, a Pomeranian named after Jessie J, and Coco, a white Maltese named after Coco Chanel.

Babi would love it if you would pray…
- For her to settle into the charity well
- That she would be a blessing to those at Shottermill House for His glory
- That the Lord would follow her into her new workplace and fill every corner

Thank you!

Could you make your home at Shottermill House? Find out more