New caring role for North Yorkshire’s Michael Westlund

Michael Westlund looking the part in tv show All Creatures Great and Small

Submitted by Elaine Williams

In the last few years aspiring actor Michael Westlund has seen himself on the set of high profile film or television productions, working alongside a host of stars.

But when Covid-19 put his work on shows like Star Wars, All Creatures Great and Small, Downton Abbey and Peaky Blinders to a halt, the 36-year-old opted for a more down to earth alternative, working at Scarborough’s Milestone House.

Michael in costume in Peaky Blinders out of bounds

Milestone House operates as a short break service for people with learning disabilities and during last year also provided places for those being discharged from hospital.

Michael as a 60’s Policeman

Before the pandemic Michael had spent three months at Pinewood Studios on Star Wars, where he appeared as a storm trooper, and closer to home on the latest Indiana Jones film, which brought Harrison Ford to the region.

However, when the entertainment industry ground to a halt, Michael found himself at a loose end and, like rock drummer Jim McDermott opted to get involved in the care sector.

While Jim, who was more used to performing alongside stars like Kylie Minogue and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, offered his services as a care and support worker at a Skipton care home, Michael found himself drawn to Milestone House to lend his hand to supporting its residents through a very challenging period.

Assisting at Milestone House

He had been furloughed from Scarborough Spa, where he worked between acting engagements, and found the care work a welcome change from the hospitality industry.

He had wanted to do something to help out during the pandemic and found the variety of tasks of being a carer so satisfying he has stayed on to become a regular relief staff member at the Seamer home.

He said: “I get a lot of satisfaction out of it, I do pretty much everything, personal care, taking people out around the village, and organising activities. We created lots of fun activities during the Euros and the Olympics, including making banners.”

As a relief care worker Michael is also able to continue with acting engagements now the entertainment industry is getting back on its feet.

Michael chats with a resident

Rachel Bowes, North Yorkshire’s Assistant Director of Adult Social Care, said: “Working in the care sector is a rewarding experience for many different reasons and we are grateful to those who have chosen to make a career in this area.

“North Yorkshire has many varied opportunities in care and it is possible for colleagues to develop a very rewarding career.”

The County Council employs more than 1,000 care and support workers and more than 250 Covid relief workers were hired to help cope with the demands of the pandemic. Around 65 relief workers have stayed on longer term.


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