SPECIALIST Andrew Carrigan has more than just his training and experience to rely on when advising clients – and County Gazette readers – on social care law.

Members of his family have needed care and support as they battled debilitating health conditions, so he knows personally about the pressures and challenges the complex world of social care can put on relations.

Andrew, now a solicitor at the Taunton branch of law firm Ashfords, has also worked in the care sector himself.

He said: “I spent my gap year and holidays during university working in a hospital caring for adults with learning disabilities and went on to write my dissertation on mental health law.

“In my early 20s my Nan developed dementia. Initially she went to live with my Mum and Dad at home but as her needs became more pronounced she moved into a nursing home. I remember that experience vividly and the strain it placed on our family.

“More recently my Mum died of cancer. We were lucky enough to be able to support her at home until she went into an excellent hospice for the last couple of days.

“But as the illness progressed I saw the proud and independent woman that brought me up become increasingly reliant on the help and support of others. As excellent as that help was I know she found accepting it one of the hardest parts of the illness.”

He now sees those pressures mirrored in the experiences of clients.

He added: “When I meet those clients I remember how much the support of people ‘outside our bubble’ helped us to deal with the practical stuff that needed to be done.

“I try to live up to that standard when I’m doing my job. Every client has a story that has led to them coming to see me. Finding the right way to assist and support them is the thing that makes my work so varied and challenging.

“I have had a few different jobs over the years and I can honestly say this is the most demanding and the most rewarding role I’ve ever had.”