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Clare balances challenges of work with perfect ‘pottering’

Published on: Friday 20th March 2015
Categorised under: Work, Play , Barrow, NHS

Dr Clare Jefferson, 41, clinical psychologist with Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in Barrow

Psychologist Dr Clare Jefferson says South Cumbria is the perfect environment to help her unwind after a day's work.


"I graduated in 2000 and I knew I wanted to be a clinical psychologist at that point and I was looking for experience," said Clare, 41, who grew up in the local area.

"I approached the local psychology department who had some opportunities for me to help them out with research. As I got into the system I realised there was a career pathway, so I worked in Morecambe Bay and then in North Cumbria in assistant roles then went to Lancaster to train as a clinical psychologist. Thankfully a job came up and I have been working in the trust as a qualified member of staff since 2008.

"I work as part of the physical health and rehabilitation psychology service, working with people with cancer, diabetes and heart disease and the therapy is about helping people come to terms with the impact of those conditions on their life and helping manage anxiety and depression around that.

"The most satisfying part is when you get to a point in therapy when you see people start to change and begin to feel more comfortable about their way of life and what they can do with it. You see that person turn the corner and realise they can have a reasonable quality of life."


"You have to live and work somewhere, so why not live and work somewhere where the environment is comfortable and beautiful and easy to get around?" said Clare.

"I think people think we are so far away from anywhere else, but with the improvements they have made on the A590 and the rail links to places, means we aren't far away at all. Lots of people associate the Lakes with holidays but they don't think about it as somewhere they can come and live and raise a family and have that quality of life all the time.

"When my son was younger it was really important for him to go to a school that had really good staff to children ratios. We went to one of the small village schools and he had a really excellent primary school experience. I felt it was a really nurturing and caring environment. During the transition to secondary school they worked really with them and the transition was quite easy to cope with.

"He was very active and so there were lots of opportunities for him to get outside and get involved in activities, whether it was football, cricket or long-distance running. He really thrived on that.

"I really appreciate the drive in and the drive home from work, because it gives me time to transition from each part of my life into the other. Driving and being immersed in the area we are, there is something quite special about being able to do that and not feel like you are constantly stuck in traffic.

"People from Cumbria will always say that everyone has a smile on their face as they walk down the street and say 'Hello'. People like to stop and talk and there is a real sense of community. People get together and get passionate about things that are important and people will organise things like beach cleans and raising money for particular charities and that kind of thing."


"Most weekends I like pottering around the Lakes." said Clare. "We just like to go and explore and the best thing about living here is that you can do it at times when it isn't busy and peak season, so we really appreciate that.

"I quite like going up to Hawkshead and Grasmere and places like that. You can get there really easily, but on your doorstep there are beaches and there are fells and it is just a very restful environment."

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