After completing a Hotel Management course at catering college, I joined Trust Houses Forte on their Post Graduate management trainee scheme. Having worked in various Hotels in the UK I realised that it was a great life when you were young but, as most of the more senior managers were either alcoholics or divorced or both! I felt a change in direction was appropriate.
I joined the Hospital catering services and worked in both the NHS and the private sector. This took me through the most radical changes the NHS has probably seen in its history, with competitive tendering, contracting out services, private finance initiatives and contracting budgets. I was involved in the tendering of my services on numerous occasions and am pleased to say that on each occasion I won the tender on behalf of the Trust. My final appointment was based in London where I was responsible for the catering services in two London Hospitals.
I then bought The Lilacs Residential Home with my business partner in 2000. Did I then find out what a learning curve was, as I didn’t even know what a commode was! I am still learning today
For the first 32 years of my working life I worked in local solicitors practices finally specialising in Family matters. I then completely changed my career direction and worked in a very senior position for two 32 bedded care homes in Southend-on-Sea, finally with responsibility for Human resources (80+ staff) and training.
I became Administrator of SECHA in November 2006 and Company Secretary in February 2007.
When I came to SECHA I quickly realised that more use of the internet was needed and that many of its practices needed modernising. This I believe, has been achieved and has created a membership in touch with each other via SECHA in a way previously not possible. We are constantly working to maintain our pro-active work for our members and striving to improve our relevance to members.
I consider myself as a bubbly, patient person. I pride myself on the dedication that I have given to the caring profession over the past 24 years; I have spent most of my career at only three homes and gained experience in nursing the terminally ill, clients with learning disabilities and dementia care.
I am at present the manager of Oakdale Residential Home, Hadleigh, Essex and have been since January 2007, I am enjoying my position here and learn something new everyday. I have my Registered Managers award and levels 2 and 3 in Social Care
I look after 27 residential/ dementia clients here at Oakdale. We are part of a larger group called 1st Choice Care Homes although Oakdale is the only home in Essex there are seven other homes based in Dover and Folkstone. They are a wonderful company to work for, and care considerably about their clients and their families and our staff team.
I became a Director of SECHA in the hope that I can contribute some of my own experiences into the Committee and learn some more skills which will help me within my own job here at Oakdale.
I started in Social Care in 1991 as Senior Support Worker with adults with learning disabilities for a Healthcare Community Trust (previous to this I’d gained BSc(Hons) in applied physics and worked as a research engineer for Marconi Research Centre). I also did lots of agency work in home care, work with the elderly, work with people with mental health issues and even as cook in childrens’ homes.
I put myself through City & Guilds advanced Management for Care in 1997 became a Registered Manager of a residential home for people with learning disabilities in Barking & Dagenham. I also put myself through the postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies.
After a childcare break, I started again in home care and in 2007 became Support Manager for the Christian charity Prospects for People with Learning Disabilities. They are a national provider with the aim to enable people with learning disabilities to live their lives to the full, as per John 10:10. In Westcliff they have a Supported Living scheme and also the support of someone who has moved out into her own flat
I was invited to become a Director of SECHA and bring my knowledge and experience with people with learning disabilities, Supported living and Domiciliary care to the team. My motivation comes from being able to improve life for other and believe that in the scheme I manage, I have achieved this. I hope that as a Director of SECHA, I may be able to help others achieve this too.
I attended Goldsmiths College in London and did a degree in education. I then worked with children with special needs until 1991. After that I worked with young adults with drink and drugs problems working towards drying them out and setting them up in permanent accommodation.
In 2000 I bought Westminster House, a Home for the elderly mentally ill and that is where I am today.
I became a Director of SECHA in June 2007.