I qualified as a registered general nurse in 1988 and was a home manager at Care UK’s Beech Hurst care home for three years until January 2015. I rejoined Care UK in January 2018 as home manager at Darlington Court: Care UK is always aiming to improve the lives of residents in its homes, and it supports its teams to be better and do better.
Being a home manager is a bit like being an orchestra conductor. You need to lead and support your team, trusting them to work together. There’s a lot happening at the same time, and when it works well, it’s amazing. I’m passionate about quality in care, so seeing success fuels me and drives me on further.
I began work as activities coordinator at Darlington Court in 2012 having always wanted to work for a large company. I believe that to be a successful activities coordinator you need to be a positive, honest and happy person and be able to put yourself in the shoes of the residents.
Working with a great team and all the wonderful residents at Darlington Court is my favourite part of the job.
In my spare time I enjoy socialising and spending time with my family.
When I first came to Darlington Court I was immediately impressed by the home and the team, and how residents receive tailored attention. It made me want to be a part of things here. I used to be a chef in a warden-assisted home and it certainly gave me a helpful understanding of catering and nutrition for older people, as well as staff management. I’ve been in the catering trade for 40 years and I’m still learning, which is fantastic.
Outside of work I like to keep busy renovating old houses, restoring Victorian horse carriages and breeding rare miniature donkeys!
I worked in the leisure industry before coming to work at Care UK. I worked in customer service but was also involved in service improvement. However, when my nan was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia in 2017, I cared for her until home care was put in place. Supporting someone I love and seeing how the carers dealt with my nan’s needs led me to make a change to working in the care sector.
I love the fact that every day is different at Darlington Court. My favourite part of the working day is definitely when I go around the different suites in the home to deliver messages or speak with colleagues as I get to have a chat with the residents.
Outside of work I enjoy walks and baking with my young daughter, Sunday dinners with family, visiting friends and watching Netflix!
I love the fact that every day is different in this role. Although I’m an experienced activity co-ordinator and events planner – I used to work for a charity – I still enjoy the challenges my role brings, including needing to have a ‘plan b’ and to think on your feet if residents fancy doing something different to what’s planned.
I really enjoy spending one-to-one time with residents. They love reminiscing and that’s when you can really get to know them and the things they’ve done in their lives. We have some big projects to arrange and it’s rewarding to see these through and to look back and think “I did that”.