Appreciation at Abacare

Leah Haslam Branch Manager at Abacare in Rhondda Cynon Taf has asked us to share her appreciation for some longstanding members of the team.

The branch has recently been recognising long service for some of their care team, including:

Andrea Williams – 11 years

Brett Severn – 5 years

Jackie Lloyd –  7 years.

Leah and the team have also congratulated Zoe Pain, one of their coordinators, for her 8 years of service.

Congratulations everyone. We’re looking forward to working alongside you all for many more years to come.

Dementia Action Week 

This week is Dementia Action Week – the Alzheimer’s Society’s annual awareness raising campaign, with this year’s theme focusing on diagnosis.

Worried about memory problems?

If you or a loved one is experiencing memory loss, it could be a sign of dementia. Alzheimer’s Society research shows that the misconception around memory loss being a sign of normal ageing is the biggest barrier to people seeking a dementia diagnosis.

With diagnosis rates falling to a five-year low, the Alzheimer’s Society want to encourage those who might be living with undiagnosed dementia to come to them for guidance and support and feel empowered to take the next step.

Getting a diagnosis can be daunting, but the Society believe it’s better to know. And so do 91% of people affected by dementia.

Getting Support

If you are concerned you or a loved one may be experiencing signs of dementia, here are ways you can get support and guidance:

  • Call The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect support line on 0333 150 3456 or click here for online resources.
  • Contact your GP – more information is also available from NHS Online here.
  • LifeWorks online resources – The Caring for a Family Member with Dementia four-part article series covers first steps, handling behaviour at home, keeping those with dementia safe at home and finding a balance. You can access the service here – if you are unsure of your login detail or have any questions about LifeWorks please contact the team.

Emotive words for the Sophie and Michelle at Guardian Morecambe

Samantha Mozer, Registered Manager at Guardian Homecare in Morecambe has shared a lovely compliment from a service users family, who has now sadly passed away.

The family got in touch as they wanted to share their appreciation for the excellent care their father received from two members of the team, Sophie Shields and Michelle Harrison, writing:

“I am writing to express our thanks to the two carers from the Palliative Team for providing care to my dad at home at the end of his life. We were very fortunate to have Sophie and Michelle appointed to his care. They attended four visits per day for the 3-4 days they were needed over the long Bank Holiday weekend.

“Both were kind, caring and compassionate; not only to my father but to us as a family as well at a very difficult time. They provided efficient, gentle care ensuring dad’s needs were met and he was comfortable. We never felt their visits were rushed, as they always asked if there was anything else they could do before they left each visit and were understanding if a care visit or input was not appropriate at certain times.”

Thank you so much for sharing Samantha. It’s clear just how big a difference Sophie and Michelle’s support made at an incredibly difficult time for this family.

Let’s Talk About Health: World Meditation Day

Today is World Meditation Day!

Many of us spend a lot of our time rushing from one activity to the next. Meditation is a technique used to calm both the mind and the body by sitting quietly, taking deep breaths, and becoming aware of thoughts and bodily sensations.

Meditation has been practiced across the world for thousands of years. While it has a religious context, many people globally use it independently of any religious or spiritual practice. It’s available to everyone, everywhere – all you need is a little time.

What are the benefits of meditation?

Meditation can help people cope with emotional and physical concerns, such as:

  • Stress and tension
  • Mild anxiety
  • Mild depression
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disorders
  • Respiratory problems (such as asthma and emphysema)

Meditation is most beneficial when practiced regularly, so why not set yourself a reminder to meditate once a day, every day for the rest of the week, and see how you feel.

Try out Meditation Exercises on LifeWorks

Whether you’re new to meditation altogether or a seasoned pro, why not try the following meditation exercise videos available free on LifeWorks:

  • Body Scan Meditation This meditation is designed to release tension in your body and mind.
  • Tree Grounding Meditation This grounding exercise is designed to focus your mind on the present and help you feel more calm and relaxed.
  • Five Senses Meditation This exercise is an active form of meditation that engages your five senses.

Fabulous feedback at Noble Live-In Care

And finally, Nadine Bowman one of our Locality Managers at Noble Live-In Care has shared some heart-warming feedback about a member of the live-in team, Gunpanvr.

Gunpanvr has worked for Noble Live-In Care for a few years now and has always wanted her own permanent package, in which she is now thriving. Following a recent review with her client Bunty, the family shared the following feedback:

“We think Gun is wonderfully suited for the placement. Bunty is very fond of her and likes her manner. Everyone is pleased with her. If there is anything else we could wish for is for Gun herself to know how much she is appreciated and trusted to make decisions without having to get the whole family’s approval!

“We rely on her to know what to do. She is better trained than all of us put together.

“We appreciate Bunty is quite reserved and not particularly social and guess this must be quite a lonely job. In spite of this we hope Gun will be available to take care of Bunty for as long as possible.”

Nathan Brewer-Magrin, Registered Branch Manager at Noble commented on the feedback, “It’s a real pleasure to see Noble Live-In Care team from our Carers, Care Co-ordinator and Locality Managers working together to find a good suitable match between our Live In Carers and Customers, to ensure positive outcomes. It gives a real sense of pride and fulfilment to know that our customer’s needs, and preferences are being met with such ease. It’s always lovely to receive such positive feedback. Well done team!”

Nadine finished by saying, “It is so lovely to hear positive feedback about our carers. This package has had a few hiccups along the way, but it’s so refreshing to know that a good match between a carer and client can improve the service and ensure that the client and their family are once again happy with the care we are providing. She is an asset to our team.”

Thank you so much for sharing Nadine, and we couldn’t agree more – Gunpanvr sounds like an absolute star.


Our Care Heroes Awards are back!

We’re pleased to announce that City & County’s Care Heroes Awards are back for 2022. That’s right, our celebration of the most impactful and inspiring care will be returning this July.

We need your stories of how our colleagues have gone above and beyond to embody our values and support those we care for. With your support, we’ll be showing the world just what makes our care teams the best in the business.

Nominations open soon, so start thinking about the colleagues you think deserve to be recognised. Who has gone the extra mile to make sure a customer has got the support they need, which teams have banded-together to deliver under duress, and just who are your pandemic superheroes?

We look forward to sharing more with you about these exciting awards in the coming weeks.

Bill’s big birthday

Charlotte Groves and the team at Human Support Group in Middlesbrough have asked us to share their best wishes for one of their service users, Bill Kitching. Bill turned an impressive 100 years young recently – sharing his birthday with the Queen herself!

Bill is known locally for his lengthy and successful career with the police. He joined the force initially in 1937 as a clerk in CID, before becoming a police officer in 1941.

His career was interrupted by the Second World War when he swapped policing for service in the RAF, showing nerves of steel manning a bomber aircraft and also performing the crucial navigator role. Bill returned to policing in 1945 and served until 1982, retiring as District Commissioner.

Happy birthday Bill, we hope you had a fantastic day – and thank you so much for sharing Bill’s story Charlotte.

Last chance to join our RideLondon team

RideLondon returns on Sunday 29 May 2022 and, to recognise Complete Care Amegreen’s recently launched care partnership with the SIA, we’re assembling a team to tackle the event in aid of people living with spinal injury.

Registrations close today, so please email Steph Mohan as soon as possible if you’d like to take part.

The team are riding to support the amazing work undertaken by the SIA, whose specialist spinal cord injury nurses are there for those who need it, as well as their campaigners defending spinally injured people’s rights and pushing for better patient care.

Wonderful days at Waterside Court

Kim Nicholson has let us know about some fantastic events arranged for the tenants the Waterside Court Extra Care scheme in Loughborough recently, including sharing these amazing pictures of a special bank holiday visitor:














The new Scheme Manager, Angela Bunney, had arranged the day with a local farm. Tenants at the scheme, along with the Help at Home team, had a great time meeting the farm’s Shetland pony – feeding it carrots and apples.

Kim also told us, “I am bursting with proud of our new team in Waterside court. Angela and her team pulled out all the stops over the last couple of weeks.

“We are very lucky that a local pub closed their doors to the public and opened only for the Waterside residents. This was a day to remember and immensely enjoyed. It brought lots of memories back; like playing pool and darts, listening to old songs on the juke box and drinking cocktails. It was a delight to experience with the tenants.

“The team also made Easter cakes with the tenants over the holidays, getting very sticky and making lots of mess and loads of laughs during this process.”

Looks like everyone had a fantastic time at the events and made some great memories Kim! Well done to Angela and the team at Waterside Court.

Let’s Talk About Health: MS Awareness Week 

This year MS Awareness Week runs from Monday 25th April until Sunday 1 May.

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that affects your brain and spinal cord. In MS, the coating that protects your nerves (myelin) is damaged. This causes a range of symptoms like blurred vision and problems with how we move think and feel.

MS is unpredictable and different for everybody. Symptoms can come and go and change over time, and it’s difficult to know how your condition might progress. That’s why this #MSAwarenessWeek, the MS Society are shining a light on the uncertainty of living with the condition. To find out more click here.

Stop MS Appeal

The MS Society are driving research forward so that everyone with MS can get the treatment they need. You can donate to Stop MS Appeal here.

Glove Awareness Week 2022

Glove Awareness Week 2022 will take place between 2nd – 6th May and coincides with World Hand Hygiene Day on 5th May. This year the focus is on how reducing unnecessary glove use can help make health care more sustainable.

When used correctly, gloves are a vital piece of PPE equipment, however there are many occasions when gloves are not needed and hand hygiene is completely effective in protecting you and those you care for.

The Royal College of Nursing have released a suite of workplace and social media resources to help your teams get involved and raise awareness of appropriate glove use. These can be found here, and include posters, a leaflet, social media downloads and a Teams background.

Congratulations to Lauren at Advantage Healthcare

Finally, our complex care teams have asked us to share their congratulations to Lauren Hansford on being awarded her Registration from CQC this week.

Lauren – pictured here – started as a Healthcare Assistant in 2015, and progressed into the office as Client Manager in 2018. Since last year, Lauren’s skills and commitment were rewarded with a role as Deputy Manager at Advantage Healthcare in Nottingham.

With her new registration, we’re very pleased announce Lauren’s new role as registered manager. Congratulations from us and everyone in the complex care division Lauren!


Care Heroes Awards: Care or Support worker of the Year

In our final update on the winners and finalists of our 2020 Care Heroes awards, this week it’s the big one – Care or Support Worker of the Year. This award recognises any care or support worker who has embodied the group’s values and behaviours in every aspect of their work. We’d also like to say a huge thank you to our guest judge for this category, Jane Townson, CEO of the UK Home Care Association.

Winner: Nicky Jennings – Surrey SCP, Redhill

In nominating Nicky, her manager, Alison Phillips told us, “Nicky has worked for Surrey SCP almost three and a half years and is the most exceptional care worker that any family member would want looking after their parents.  She demonstrates excellent practices and follows our policies and procedures exactly.”

Alison continued, “Nicky is one of two senior care workers in her area of work and I can honestly say that it runs like clockwork with everything in order. Nicky ensures there are never any events such as missed medications, there is never a missed visit and there are never any complaints about her work. Nicky is one of the most reliable members of the team, and her attendance, punctuality and commitment to delivering an excellent level of care is something that we should model all care workers on.”

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also found out that Nicky took time each day to go to the local Sainsbury’s at the 7am carers’ slot.  She would shop for all her service users, preventing them from coming to any harm – doing so without being asked and in her own time. During that period nothing was too much for Nicky and it proved just what an outstanding carer she really is.

Alison summarised by telling us that “In times of trouble, Nicky can be relied on to step up and make the difference. We would be lost without Nicky and so would her service users.”

In choosing the winner, Jane Townson spoke with the daughter of two of Nicky’s clients, who repeatedly commented, “We don’t know what we’d do without her”. We don’t know what we’d do without you either Nicky, congratulations on being our well-deserved winner.

Congratulations to our finalists

A huge well done to our other finalists this year – Heather Jasper at Abacare in Bangor and Bisi Jinadu from the London Care team at the Pullen Day Centre.

Heather has worked for Abacare since 2016, and embodies the group’s values and behaviours in every aspect – being a mentor and shadow support during her time with us. Heather even committed to supporting new staff at the branch, despite her own daughter and husband being diagnosed with cancer at the same time.

Heather has continued to work through their treatment, and has never once taken a day off sick. We’re told that Heather shows great empathy and compassion even when she is having the toughest of times in her own personal life, greeting everyone with a smile – you would never know the personal issues she is battling.

When nominating Bisi, Maria Gerardo said that, “Bisi is an extremely hard working team member, she always goes above and beyond with our clients – even visiting them during lockdown after our day centre closed. If any of our clients had a birthday in lockdown, she would bring them cake and cards and continues to do this as we still haven’t re-opened our centre.”

During the pandemic, Bisi also made time to ensure that her clients could stay safe and well indoors, buying shopping each week to help those shielding or still unable to get out. We even had student volunteers who have written letters to our elderly clients, and Bisi has not failed to make sure these are delivered – even if she has to drop it to our clients’ homes herself. Above all, Bisi has gone out of her way to make sure that her none of clients have missed-out as a result of COVID-19.

As expected, this was a particularly tricky award to judge. Jane even commented, “I’m sure that you can see my problem. How on earth does one choose between these three exceptional care workers?” You are all truly worthy finalists, and represent the very best of everything we aspire to do at City & County.

That’s all for our worthy 2020 award winners and finalists, but we look forward to updating you on our exciting 2021 Care Heroes Awards soon.

Mental Health Awareness Week 10th – 16th May

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place this week, and this year’s theme is nature.

The Mental Health Foundation started the annual event 21 years ago with the aim of getting people to have conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that affect it.

Last week we shared with you some tips and resources to help you connect with nature, which are still available. Why not use the Nature Journal here to help you document how you feel about nature and your mental health or click here for top tips on connecting with nature?

Start a conversation about Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Week is a chance for every one of us to think about our own mental health and to talk about any aspect of mental health, regardless of the theme.

Mental Health Matters have specially recorded a short video for us to help create an awareness of mental health – covering the signs, symptoms and causes of mental ill health and support techniques available.

Why not:

  • Take some time out of your day
  • Reflect on what mental health means to you and your own state of mental health, and;
  • Start a conversation with your friends, family or colleagues about mental health

Mental Health Matters is a national charity with over 35 years of experience in delivering high-quality mental health and social care services. They support more than 15,500 people every month to access treatment and achieve their recovery goals. Visit their website here for helpful resources and information.

Recognising ten years’ service for dedicated Hilday

Danielle Russell, Branch Manager for Careline Homecare, wanted to pass on her appreciation for a member of the Berwick upon Tweed team – Hilday Drysdale. April marked ten years of dedicated service for Hilday in the branch, and during that time she has made a huge impact on both her colleagues and service users.

Danielle told us, “Over the years Hilday has courageously and faithfully been dedicated to providing exceptional care to her service users, always going above and beyond putting herself at risk on many occasions. As she works within the rural areas, there have been many times when she has battled through snow and ice, torrential rains and high winds to make sure that her service users where safe and well.”

Danielle continued, “Hilday is highly respected by her service users and all of her colleagues. We would like to offer a huge thank you to Hilday and send out gratitude for her dedication.”

Thank you for your commitment to your service users and colleagues Hilday. You sound like an absolute superstar for the Careline Homecare team.

Appreciation for the Jackson Gardens team

Finally, Richard Wheatley, Regional Manager – North West, has asked us to share his appreciation for the Comfort Call team at the new Jackson Gardens Extra Care scheme in Knowsley.

Richard told us, “Louise Hogan, Registered Manager, has been working hard with her care team on implementing Jackson Gardens. I have been to meet the care team this morning and it is great to see how passionate the team are in providing good quality care to service users.”

Thank you Louise and everyone involved for your hard work in getting the scheme up and running.

Care Heroes Awards: Above and Beyond Award

We’re celebrating the finalists of our Above and Beyond Award this week. This award recognises any front-line care or support worker who has gone beyond the call of duty for the well-being of service users.

Winner: Nicola Beeston – Careline Homecare, Darlington

Our care teams never know quite what to expect when arriving at a service user’s home, and sometimes it can take quick-thinking and dedication to respond to a tricky situation. For one particular care worker – Nicola Beeston – a teatime visit in July of last year proved to be a prime example.

Expecting it to be her final call before she was due to finish work, Nicola quickly found the service user’s husband was unwell and in pain. He told Nicola had not sought any medical advice as there are no friends or family locally that could help support his wife, who has dementia, if he was taken to hospital. Nicola reassured him that his wife would be well taken care of and contacted the branch to say that she was willing to stay overnight – which Nicola did until the service user’s husband was able to return home.

The service user’s husband later contacted the branch to praise Nicola for her actions. He said “Nicola must have had things she needed to do last night, her own family to get home to, but instead she stayed here to make sure that I went to hospital and got the help that I needed. I wouldn’t have gone otherwise and she knew that. It must have been scary for her to have to spend the night in a strange house but she didn’t show that, she just reassured me that my wife would be fine and I needed to concentrate on getting the help I needed. Thank you just isn’t enough, we just feel so lucky to have her.”

He continued, “Sometimes, when caring for someone with dementia, there is not a lot of fun in life. But Nicola, along with the other carers that visit, are a light in our lives. But what Nicola did that night was just outstanding and I’ll never be able to say how grateful I am.”

Congratulations to our finalists

A huge well done to our other finalists this year – Jane Gredig from Surrey SCP in Redhill and Sagecare’s double-up team of Jane Aoslin and Lisa Owens at Squires Gate.

In nominating Jane Gredig, her manger – Alison Phillips – told us that, “When the covid pandemic hit back in March we had a service user who was hugely affected.  She has advanced dementia and lives in her own flat, but she attended a day centre each day in between the care worker visits. When the day centre closed this lady lost her routine and started wandering the corridors of her accommodation each night and banging on doors.”

Social Service wanted to put the lady in a care home, but Alison and the team realised this would make her feel even more disorientated. Jane immediately stepped up and said she could not bear to see the service user suffer. She offered to move out of her home immediately and stay every night – doing so from March to August without complaint.

Jane left her own family behind and said to Alison that this was the reason why she came to the care industry, as she has a deep connection and passion for the service users. Alison commented, “I cannot thank Jane enough for her support especially throughout covid. She made the difference to so many and should be celebrated.”

When talking about Jane Aoslin and Lisa Owens, Samantha bond simply commented, “If my relatives needed care, these are the two I would wish to have in their home”. There are few recommendations higher than this.

After moving to the social care sector from careers in other industries, both Jane and Lisa have found their true calling in life. Working together as a team for the last three years, they have made an impact on all their service users lives – including some particularly challenging cases this past year.

The duo recently had taken on a package where it was discovered that communications had broken down between the service user and their wider family. Knowing the service user would not get the support they needed from relatives, Jane and Lisa did everything possible to make life more comfortable. From treating lice to helping the service user move into respite when their ceiling collapsed – nothing was too much for these two.

Samantha summed up, “Their dedication goes beyond the call of duty. The service users all request that these two are their carers when they are on duty. We are at a loss of how many selfless acts these two preform on a day to day basis.”

As you’d expect, our judges had particular difficulty choosing a winner for this category, rightly commenting that “They all deserve recognition”. Congratulations to you all, and thank you for everything you’ve done to support these vulnerable individuals – you are all very worthy finalists.

Lifetime Achievement Award update

Just in case you missed it from last week’s roundup, we’d also like to confirm that our Lifetime Achievement Award winner – Abiola Abbati – is from the London Care East London Branch. Congratulations again Abiola!

MiHomecare’s COVID-19 response wins at the LaingBuisson Awards

Congratulations to Helen Newcombe and the MiHomecare teams in Carmarthenshire and Swansea who won this year’s LaingBuisson Outstanding Response to COVID in Social Care Award. The award recognises examples of strong culture, delivering better care, excellent communication, and early responses in adapting to and overcoming challenges during the pandemic. 

Facing strong competition from across the social care sector, the judges ultimately recognised the MiHomecare teams’ drive to go beyond excellent service delivery in increasingly innovative ways.

At the very start of the pandemic, Helen developed two specialist Covid-19 response teams within her homecare workforce. Working closely with commissioners, and responding to the ongoing changes during the pandemic, the teams consistently delivered practical and measurable outcomes for their clients – despite the challenges caused by COVID-19.

Helen’s vision and ability to empower others has enriched many lives, from frontline staff to the people receiving care. Throughout the pandemic, staff morale has been high. Helen inspired her colleagues to think creatively. Helen’s ideas were shared during daily management calls and her innovations were replicated across MiHomecare.

In their application for the award, the teams acknowledged, “Covid-19 presented us with the biggest challenge we have faced in 24 years of homecare delivery. Despite this, morale and team cohesion has been exceptionally high because our staff were empowered to make a hugely positive impact on the people they care for and their colleagues.”

A huge ‘well done’ to everyone involved in the COVID-19 response at MiHomecare, your hard work and innovative approach has truly earned this award and recognition. We’re proud to have you all on-board as a valued part of the City & County family.

Birthday celebrations at home for Norman

Maria Gerardo at the Pullen Centre has sent us an uplifting story showing how the London Care team are engaging with their clients despite the centre being closed through the pandemic.

One of their clients – Norman – celebrated his birthday on Sunday, so the team paid him a birthday visit at his home. After a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday, Norman was so pleased to receive his chocolate eclairs, Cadburys chocolate bar and card.

Maria told us, “Norman hasn’t been out of the house for over a year, despite my team trying to get him to go for a walk outside or even around the building. But, he won’t leave his flat as he is so concerned about the virus. Norman has just had both of his jabs and is in very good spirits, so he’s excited to come back to our centre once we reopen again.”

Maria continued, “Norman is 82 years old and has been so strong through this whole pandemic. Despite not going out even for a walk, he is always so happy, cheerful and always pleased to see my staff.”

Happy birthday Norman, we hope you had a fantastic day.

Appreciation for our London Care teams

Magdalena Trepczynska, Regional Manager – South, has shared a series of appreciative messages from the families and contacts of service users across the South East. The continued dedication of London Care teams to clients in the area has made an inspiring difference to their lives.

Firstly, the Raynes Park branch received the following feedback shortly after one of their service users sadly recently passed away:

“Thank you so much for the beautiful floral display in memory of my Aunt.

“I fully appreciate all the care and support given to my aunt over the years. Without your kindness and dedication, it would have been difficult for her to continue to be cared for in her own home. It was her greatest wish – and indeed mine and her family’s – for my aunt to remain in her own home and spend her final days there. Thanks to you all, that was achieved.”

A few days earlier, the Rochester team were also contacted by the family of one of their service users to express their appreciation for one particular member of the team – Heidi:

“I have received a call from the nurses to say that they will be taking over dad’s care. I have requested that they remain with yourselves for as long as possible, this is due to Heidi and the wonderful relationship that she has built with Dad, she is the only one that has taken the time to get to know him and talk to him.

“When Heidi comes in, he lights up, he will always try and eat for her when everyone else fails. This lady is the very definition of caring where as others it’s just a job. The last thing I want to do is to deprive my dad of the one small bit of joy he has left.”

When another support service steps in to comment on just how effective our staff are, it’s always a huge compliment. Rhys Davies from the Complex Care Team at the Royal Borough of Greenwich had this to say about one member of the Crayford team:

“I just wanted to let you know that the carer Miriam from London Care has been very supportive of my client and has gone the extra mile. She has been always willing to adapt her hours to meet the needs of client and ourselves and communicates well with us. She has a positive relationship with him and has been great.”

Finally, Magda also asked to send a special congratulations to Sussana Ansah – who recently took over the branch manager role in Crayford branch following her successful CQC interview. Well done Sussana!

Thank you to everyone working hard to support our vulnerable clients across the UK, but particular congratulations to these teams an individuals who have made such a big impact.

Mental Health Awareness Week 10th – 16th May

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place next week, and this year’s theme is nature.

The Mental Health Foundation started the annual event 21 years ago with the aim of getting people to have conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that affect it.

Why nature is this year’s theme

During the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. The Mental Health Foundation’s, research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic, showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.

What you can do

Here are some ways you can connect with nature to support your mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week:

  • Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Why not use the Nature Journal here to help you document how you feel about nature and your mental health. Click here for top tips on connecting with nature.
  • Share nature: Take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you’ve made during the week, to inspire others.

Talk about nature: discuss with your family, colleagues and community how you can help encourage people to find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment

Quality Care Services live up to their name in Belfast

Samantha Bond, Regional Manager for the North West and Northern Ireland, sent us a compliment she’d received from the Belfast Physical and Sensory Support team. The Quality Care Services team had been supporting a Belfast-based service user for some time who experienced issues with both his accommodation and the levels of support needed.

Despite the challenges, the service user was recently able to make a successful move to a supported living facility. The local Care manager contacted the Belfast branch to thank them for their support, writing:

“Just a note of thanks for the supports offered to my service user over recent years.

“I know that both the service user and extended family did not always engage positively with the Quality Care Services staff. Given the difficulties throughout, the hundreds of telephone calls, emails and visits, I am extremely grateful for the perseverance and consistency of your care staff throughout.”

Samantha told us, “They have been through a particularly rough patch in recent months, with reduced staff and it is so nice to hear some positive comments. The team are working really hard to improve standards and compliance, and this just evidences their great efforts.”

Well done to everyone in the Belfast branch. Thank you all for your commitment to making sure that this service user got the support he needed.

Mother’s Day at Lapwing Court

Tracy Asbery let us know this week about a moving Mother’s Day event at the Lapwing Court extra care scheme in Chichester. Despite a shortage of staff over the weekend, the team leader – Pat Lintott – took time to recognise all the mums living at the scheme.

Pat made every mum at the scheme a jar of assorted flowers, and gifted them each some chocolates for Mother’s Day.

Thank you Pat, we’re sure that every mum at the scheme appreciates the kindness you’ve shown them.


Bidding for success at City & County

It’s been a period of change for the Bids and Contracts team over recent months, but we’re excited to announce that we’ve recently welcomed two new Bid Managers into the City & County family. Celia Fleming joined the team in February, and in March we welcomed Emily Bagnall. Both are experienced bid writers – and will bring both care sector and wider experience into the team.

The team have also been hard at work securing contracts for your operating companies across the country. Some of our latest successes include:

  1. Trafford Council: Homecare and reablement at home – Comfort Call and HSG.
  2. Cheshire West and Chester Borough Council: Learning disability services – Sage Care.
  3. London Borough of Newham: Independent living support services – London Care.
  4. Essex County Council: Supported living framework – Guardian Homecare.
  5. West Sussex County Council: Lingfield Lodge Extra Care scheme – London Care.

The Bids and Contracts team would like to send a huge thanks to everyone involved in supporting the bid processes for these contracts. They couldn’t have won them without your hard work.

Changing minds at Ensham House

Sarah Kwofie, Regional Director – South, shared with us a message from the family of a tenant at the Ensham House extra care scheme in London. Despite them initially having concerns, the team at Ensham House have worked hard over the past year to give the family confidence that their mum was receiving the care she needed.

After having their opinion turned around by the dedication of the care team, the tenant’s daughter contacted the scheme manger to say:

“Would City & County Healthcare be able to send a general letter to care staff at Ensham House – thanking them for all the hard work, care, and a number of them going that step further for the residents they are allocated to.

“They work so hard, and still give holistic care which is so important to people nowadays being looked after. I know my mum would not be here today if it was not for the care delivered to her.”

Well done to everyone at Ensham House, you’ve obviously made a big impact on this family over the last twelve months.

Appreciation for our Human Support Group teams in the North West

Our registered branch manager, Michèle Lloyd, wanted to share an email the HSG team at Cheshire West had received from a social worker, complimenting their care delivery. The social worker wrote:

“When speaking with the service user earlier this week, she expressed how fabulous the Human Support Group carers are. She has appreciated their help and support and have been instrumental in his recovery to return back to independence. Well done!”

Meanwhile, the HSG team in Ulverston also received a message – this time from a family – to say:

“Special thanks to the team from the Ulverston HSG branch who do such a good job. The carers are of a high standard and should there be any issues the admin staff are quick to deal with them, always with our elderly uncle’s best interest at heart. This is very reassuring for the family. We thank them all for their help and support.”

Superb work from both teams, impressing not only the family of a service user but also a professional who we work alongside. Our regional manager, Catherine Richardson, told us, “It truly is heart-warming to hear the positive feedback for both the care workers and the Branch staff. What a great start to the week for the team.”

Stirring sentiments for Surrey SCP

Sarah Thomas kindly sent us an inspiring message of thanks and encouragement received by the Redhill team at Surrey SCP this week. Alison Phillips – registered manager at the branch – described it as “The loveliest thank you letter I have ever received”.

The message, written by the person who had previously managed the service user’s care needs, praised the team for their professionalism. Following the service user’s discharge from hospital, the staff in Redhill had supported her all the way until she sadly recently passed away. Contacting the branch to thank them for their dedication, the writer commented:

“Not knowing anything about choosing the ‘right’ care company as I had no standards to compare, I simply chose the one that could meet my requirements. How wise a decision that turned out to be. Surrey SCP has proved itself a hundred times over since then in all manners of care, and up until she passed away were still continually seeking to improve its service delivery.

“Having worked in the customer service industry for almost all of my entire career, from my personal experience I applaud the professional standards you adopt, namely your customer-first policy, selection and retention of staff, who demonstrated their professionalism and personal care and compassion at all times.

“Not withstanding this, special mention must be said of the central administration whose job it was to maintain the high standard of delivery. From the customer’s perception, all appeared to be managed in a seamless manner.

“Thank you once again as I am eternally grateful for your help.”

As praised by the writer, the seamless teamwork between the care and branch staff made sure this service user got the support she desperately needed. A huge ‘well done’ to everyone at Redhill.

Congratulations to Andrew Walby who recently won the Home Care Worker category of the Southwark Care Awards.

Organised by Southwark Council, the Southwark Care Awards celebrate the impact that paid and unpaid carers have in the local community. Sadly, due to the impact of Covid-19, there couldn’t be a physical awards ceremony this year – but Southwark Council are looking into ways to recognise Andrew and the other winners.

A member of our Sagecare team, Andrew was nominated for the award by David, a local social worker, after seeing the impact he’d made on the life of a non-verbal client. As part of the nomination David commented, “On my initial visit the client look dishevelled, he sat on a wooden chair, his curtains were shut and he just stared at his TV. He didn’t speak or look at anybody, so I requested a change in carer.”

“The new carer, Andrew, was Incredible. I visited a few days later sand the client was smiling and there were A5 pieces of paper with e alphabet on. The carer and purchased a small birthday cake, and the client blew out the candles.

“Within a few weeks, the client was managing to write a few words, he was starting to remember things. Andrew found a guitar, cleaned it and passed it to the client – who started to play it. He was beaming.”

Amazing, well done Andrew. You’ve made a huge change to the life of this service user.

A thank you to our Darlington Careline team

Arnold, the husband of one of our service users, recently contacted our Careline Homecare team in Darlington to thank them for their support. Following a fall outside their home, Arnold’s wife was admitted to surgery.


“Before my wife was allowed hone, the occupational therapist team arranged for NHS nursing care to care for my wife at home. They provided two weeks of excellent care, which was followed by Careline Homecare, again wonderful care and attention.”


Arnold felt so strongly about the quality of care that his wife had received from the Darlington team and local NHS staff that he sent gifts to the branch, and even wrote a letter to his local paper.


“At all times the care, help and advice given has been of the highest quality – impossible to fault. Heartfelt thanks to everyone concerned with providing care and help during a very difficult period.”

Sharps and needle stick injuries

We have continued to see a small but steady number of needle stick injuries. If there are sharps present in a service user’s home, even if they are used by someone else, these should be included in the risk assessment.

To avoid injury to yourself and the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses, you should always be alert for sharps which are not being properly disposed of. This might be because there is no sharps box or because the sharps box is full, or because the box is just not being used properly. As always, please report concerns to the office.

Robert makes a difference

Our Guardian Homecare team in Morecambe received some outstanding feedback about one of their care workers, Robert.


“I wanted to pass on some feedback about Robert. Yesterday was a heart-breaking day for Dad with his realisation that he could not stay in his home. Robert was amazing with dad – he reassured him comforted him and put him a little at ease. He truly is such an asset to your team I do believe a secret diamond.

“Please pass on our heartfelt thanks to Robert for being so caring and understanding with dad and for the compassion he showed him yesterday, he was a huge help more than I think he realised. Thanks again for your support over the last few months.”


Congratulations Robert, you clearly had a big impact on their family during a very difficult time.

Contract win secures two Kent Extra Care Schemes

The bid team today received formal notification that London Care has been successful in its bid to retain contracts at two Extra Care schemes in the Medway Council area of North Kent. The company will now continue to provide care at Atlas Place and Rogallo Place until at least 2024.

Well done to the bid team and those in the local ops team that contributed to the bid, which received the highest scores in the evaluation, along with excellent feedback.

Frank Robinson, 92, is a customer of City & County and an avid poet. In saying thank you for the care he’s received, Frank sent us the following; a wonderful tribute to his carers. Thank you, Frank, for your beautiful words.

Thank you, carers

It is time that I say thank you
for what you’ve done for me.
A thousand days of caring;
ten hundred cups of tea.

And with the tea came kindness:
the call when you arrive.
That makes me glad to be here;
and pleased to be alive.

You listen to my stories
the people that I’ve known.
And now you see the ending
– for I am on my own.

And this is not a rare world.
It’s not a ‘dream come true’.
It just needs loving kindness
and that will come from you.

You tend my cuts and bruises
and try to keep me clean.
You bully me with kindness
for that’s what caring means.

You bring back life within me
give purpose to my years.
You help in my endurance,
and will not stand for tears.

You all have understanding
of what life needs to be.
You see it in each person
I know you do with me.

They were hard years that we’ve shared
with joy and misery.
And through it, you’ve all worked
to give life back to me.

Taking More Care

Remember us, your carers
you know we’re always here.
With love and understanding
and always without fear.

The world that we were used to
has vanished without trace.
And omitomi virus
now scares the human race.

We know that you are worried
and you know that we care.
And if you’re really fearful
just call and we’ll be there.

Your shopping is a doddle
we’ll get the things you need.
And you’ll need medication
and newsy stuff to read.

Remember that we care
and we are always here.
We will honour you with love
to take away that fear.


Coronavirus latest

The current coronavirus outbreak continues to make the news headlines, but health and social care staff are being urged to retain a sense of proportion.

Eight cases have now been confirmed in the UK and the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk level to the public from low to moderate. However, the risk to individuals remains low.

The guidance for care workers remains the same as laid out in the guidance we provided last week and which we have attached again. There is no need for any additional precautions at present – we will update our guidance as and when official advice changes.

Anyone who has travelled to the UK from China, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the past two weeks and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath should stay indoors and dial NHS 111.

Nottingham team on the move

The Finance and Shared Service Centre team in Nottingham are on the move from their site at Phoenix Park to a new home at Cardinal House, also in Nottingham.

In recent months these teams have started to outgrow their current office space and as City and County continues to grow, these teams will expand to ensure they can provide effective support to the branch network.

The move to the new office provides more room for the Shared Service teams (which include Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll and Purchasing) and the Finance management teams (Management Accounts and Treasury) to grow as required to provide an excellent level of service to the business.

As well as providing a spacious environment in which to work, the new office features City and County branding and has three meeting rooms (which can be booked using the Nottingham locations in Outlook when booking a meeting).

The office move is happening in two parts with half of the teams moving over the weekend of 8th-9th February and the second group leaving Phoenix Park on Friday 14th February. However, if you need to contact anyone in the Finance team before, during or after the move, that should still be straightforward, as all their telephone numbers are remaining the same.

And if you, a client or a commissioning organisation need to post anything to the Shared Service Centre the new address is:

Cardinal House
Abbeyfield Court
Abbeyfield Road


Inspection news

More great news on the regulatory front this week with a clutch of great inspection results.

Constance Care’s branch in Glenrothes underwent its first every inspection by the Care Inspectorate (the care regulator in Scotland) and received a full house of ‘4’ ratings, which means they achieve an overall rating of ‘good’.

This is a great achievement by the team, shown here beaming with pride and treating themselves to a wee celebration!

South of the border, Human Support Group’s services at the St Andrew’s House Extra Care scheme in Nottingham (left), Comfort Call’s Westmoreland House Extra Care in Doncaster and Guardian Homecare’s branch in Morecambe all landed ‘good’ ratings in their draft CQC reports.

Well done to the managers and teams at all these locations for a great set of fantastic outcomes!

Terezie’s raising money for the planet

Westbourne Park Dementia Adviser and passionate environmental campaigner Terezie Wickenden is raising money for a conservation charity.

The World Land Trust buys land in the most biologically important rain-forests around the world and protects it from deforestation, tackling both climate change and biodiversity.

And the Trust has no shortage of influential supporters. Revered naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough said that “the money given to the World Land Trust, in my estimation, has more effect on the wild world than almost anything else I can think of.

As Terezie told us, “climate change and biodiversity loss threaten the future of all of us” and she has been performing a series of fundraising piano concerts where she also talks on climate change and the importance of this vital cause. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.

And do remember that we are still looking for volunteers to join our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) working group to think about how to develop our CSR for better communities and a better world.

If you think you have something to contribute and would like to get involved, whether it’s a passion for fighting climate change or a particular charitable or community interest, drop an email to Max Wurr.

Feeling ‘good’ across England

It’s been a bumper week for great CQC inspection results at opposite ends of England, with three new reports published.

Leading the way was Pennyman House Extra Care, operated by Human Support Group in Middlesbrough, which achieved ‘good’ ratings across all domains in its very first inspection, an impressive achievement.

Also in Middlebsrough, the established branch of Comfort Call wasn’t to be outdone by its neighbour, retaining its existing ‘good’ ratings across all domains.

And at the opposite end of England, Surrey SCP also managed to retain its ‘good’ rating.

The consistent, high quality work done by the teams at all three locations deserves recognition. Inspections are nerve-wracking experiences for managers and staff alike, but the local teams have all done us proud – we salute you!

Help at Home take inspiration award

The efforts of the team at Help at Home in Leicester to recruit young adults into the care sector have earned them a prize at a recent awards ceremony in the city.

The LeicestershireLive Carer of the Year Awards aim to reward, recognise and celebrate unsung private and professional carers who help better the lives of others.

At the awards on 30th January, the Help at Home team were delighted to win the prize in the Inspired to Care category for their efforts in attracting younger applicants into this most rewarding of careers.

Recruitment Officer Amanda Frankton is pictured here holding the award certificate, along with Branch Manager Lee Asbury. If their smiles are anything to go by, they were very pleased to receive this recognition! Our congratulations go them and their colleagues for making such an important local impact.


Inspection news

As we settle into the new year, we have a clutch of great inspection reports from across the group.

Congratulations go to Comfort Call Bowmont House, HSG Anderton Place and Help at Home Oak Court, all of which received ‘good’ ratings across all domains (and overall).

Guardian Homecare in Ormskirk also secured a ‘good’ overall rating, with ‘good’ in all but one domain.

But this week’s special mention must go to Careline Homecare in Newcastle, which, along with its overall ‘good’ rating, struck gold with an ‘outstanding’ rating in the ‘well-led’ domain, a truly impressive achievement.

Unusual guests visit Westbourne Park

Service users at Westbourne Park Dementia Centre get to take part in some pretty cool activities, but the visitors last month were unusual even by their standards!

Safari Pete is a wildlife adventurer and conservationist who travels around the world and regularly visits local school to raise awareness about nature and the environment and as you can see, he also got a great reception at Westbourne Park!

Day Care Coordinator Joanna Budhu told us that “the service users engaged with all of the animals and no one was frightened” during what she describes as “a new experience with such a positive outcome”.

Westbourne Park continues to inspire locations across the group with the terrific range of activities on offer for people with dementia, keeping their minds active and mitigating the effects of social isolation. Thanks to Joanna and her team for sharing with us again a great story about a top class service.

Who’s DAT?

We have pleasure in introducing you to the new Delivery Assurance Team (DAT), led by Donna Terry and also including Sarah Ellis and Jan Allardice

The team’s aim is to work closely with the Regional Managers and their operational teams to embed the new Model Branch processes and systems. Their purpose is to support Regional Managers to use the systems to their full advantage, giving them the tools to coach their teams through change and to develop new innovative ways of working.

Donna tells us, “we are here to listen to feedback, reach out to understand operational challenges experienced, and continuously improve how we use Model Branch in order for us to provide a sustainable and high quality care service.”

The DAT would love to hear from you directly – send your feedback or suggestions to