A WHITEFIELD woman who used lockdown to reset her career and move from mobile hairdressing into looking after desperately ill children has won her charity’s first-ever employee award.

Michelle Kaye was honoured by her colleagues at Lagan’s Foundation, who go into the homes of young people with heart and feeding problems.

Michelle won the award after she managed to communicate with a none-speaking teenager just by watching her eyes.

Her "extraordinary empathy" has helped her build what she describes as a “fun relationship” with the 17-year-old girl from South Manchester.

“We have reached the point where I know that if she looks at her hoist, she wants to get out of her chair," said Michelle. "This young lady is at the point of transition into the adult world, and she needs to feel wanted. Some of her family members have even said that I understand her more than they do.”

Michelle’s only experience of childcare prior to Lagan’s, came from looking after her own daughter's aged 17,18 and 26.

She was approached to help out by the charity’s chief executive, Carren Bell, after lockdown left the hairdresser without any customers.

“Carren, who formed the charity after losing her baby daughter to a heart condition, knew me well and showed amazing faith in me, " said Michelle. "Lagan’s not only help children but are great company for their families. I come home from work buzzing."

Carren said: “This opportunity was Michelle’s chance to shine, and to be valued so highly by her own colleagues after such a short time is an amazing achievement.”

Michelle, 51, who also cares for a two-year-old boy who is fitted with a feeding tube, said: “I was really shocked when I heard that I had won. I am still quite new to the role and did have my own insecurities. "But this has been a boost to my confidence, and it shows that you can try something new and make a difference.”

Learn more about Lagan’s Foundation and fundraise to help their work, by going to lagans.org.uk