March 2019

There were joyous scenes in the Northeast this week when Comfort Call’s Hebburn branch hosted a special event for service users at Perth Green Community Centre.

Around sixty people attended the get-together, which featured musical entertainment and afternoon tea. Each guest also received a goodie bag and a branded Comfort Call cupcake!

Regional Manager Bernie Wyllie said, “the event was absolutely amazing. There have been a lot of day centres closed, so we wanted to do something nice for them and to give them the opportunity to get together.”

“We had two friends who had not seen each other for 20 years meeting for the first time,” continued Bernie, “and one lady who had not been out of the house at all this year. The lady had come along with her daughter-in-law, and when there was a break in a song, she just burst into singing. Her family couldn’t believe it, and everyone was joining in and clapping.”

Our thanks go to the staff at Perth Green and local firm Del’s Travel who helped with getting people to the Community Centre and above all to the staff and management at Comfort Call Hebburn for staging such a memorable event. Let’s hope some more branches are inspired to go that extra mile to make a real difference to the lives of the people we support.

February 2019

On Sunday 12th May, Abacare Bangor’s Operations Executive, Jodie Taplin, will be running the ‘Race for Life’ in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Jodie was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma type B cancer last May and after surgery, chemo and radiotherapy and with further surgery still to come, she has continued to carry out her role, being heavily involved in taking on the tender in Anglesey which Bangor office won. She was also able to go ahead with her wedding.

We’re sure that colleagues across the group will want to lend their support to Jodie . To sponsor her, please visit her fundraising page here.

We’ll look forward to bringing you further news after the race in May – good luck, Jodie, from all of us!


February 2019

Staff at Custom Care in Wolverhampton raised over £7000 for charity in 2018 – an extraordinary sum!

Charities that benefited from the team’s amazing generosity and commitment included Guide Dogs UK and Breast Cancer UK.

Local charities received support too; money was also raised for Breast Friends, which supports people dealing with breast cancer.

Our thanks and respect go to all those that raised funds or donated their hard-earned money to these worthy causes – what a fantastic achievement!

Special mention also goes to the IT team, who raised £75 for Save The Children at their Christmas Jumper Day; big thanks to everyone that took part and donated there.

January 2019

On Monday 14th January, City & County completed the acquisition of a significant portion of business from fellow home care provider, Carewatch.

CEO James Thorburn writes, “we are delighted to welcome twenty new branches and five Extra Care facilities into the City and County Healthcare Group. The branches are in Scotland, the North West of England, Wales and London.”

“In the immediate,” continues James, “the transferring Carewatch branches will run as before under the Carewatch brand, supported by Carewatch. Over the next six months we will rebrand each branch into one of our existing regional brands and move each branch onto City & County operational systems and support. Immediately our priority will be the continuity of quality care in those transferring branches.”

We welcome our new colleagues from Carewatch on board and very much look forward to this exciting next chapter in the City & County story.

January 2019

Searson Thompson, who receives support from Abacare, is believed to be the oldest man in Wales after he reached the tender age of 107 last month!

As reported in the Cambrian News, Mr Thompson, who was born three years before the start of the First World War, still lives at home in Aberdyfi, celebrated his birthday with family and friends after receiving his fourth telegram from the Queen!

We wish Mr Thompson a very happy birthday and here’s to a good few more!

December 2018

A seasonal flurry of fundraising across the group has brought some early Christmas cheer to those taking part as well as the charities that have benefited.

Staff at Hare Hill Extra Care scheme in Rochdale raised over £45 with their Christmas jumper day and a carol service (right) with tenants and visiting children.

The team at ISS Healthcare have been making donations throughout December of food and clothes for Cardiff’s
Huggett Centre, which supports homeless people in the city.

And at Poppy House Extra Care scheme in Ashton-under-Lyne, a Christmas Jumper Day (right) raised an amazing £50 for Save the Children.

In Leeds, the Comfort Call team also got well into the festive spirit when they raised £65 for the Alzheimer’s Society at their Elf Day on 7th December.

And perhaps most remarkable of all, we have heard from our colleagues at Comfort Call in Middlesbrough that their recent Elf Day raised an absolutely astonishing £700, also for the Alzheimer’s Society!

It makes us very proud to see how much compassion and goodwill there is out there among our huge workforce; thank you to each and every one of you for showing that you care.

December 2018

Service users and staff alike at Comfort Call in Rotherham had an amazing day on 4th December at their inaugural service user luncheon.

Hosted by Regional Director Wendy McCall, Regional Manager Louise Pigott and the Rotherham branch team and care workers, the event took place in the Parish Hall in Thrybergh with financial support from local businesses.

Service users and their family carers were offered transport to attend the event. On arrival each received a goody bag of gifts and sweets.

Guests also enjoyed an informative fire safety presentation by South Yorkshire Community Fire Officers and tucked into a selection of Asian food, sandwiches, cakes, buns and desserts.

After lunch, there were prizes up for grabs in the raffle and bingo and care worker Stevie and her partner entertained everyone with some live music, with which the crowd joined in enthusiastically.

Local media covered the luncheon, which everyone agreed had been a roaring success. We’re sure this wonderful event will inspire other branches to go the extra mile to make great memories for their service users, whilst tackling social isolation.

December 2017

Natalie Beckett, a health care assistant for Kent SCP, was recently recognised at the National Care Awards as Apprentice of the Year.


Natalie moved into Health and Social Care after working in childcare and found it instantly suited her kind and compassionate nature.  She is only a third of the way through her qualification but has already completed 63% of the programme due to her enthusiasm and dedication.  Many of Natalie’s patients interact only with her on some days, therefore, an important role is her listening and communication skills. Her company and conversation is extremely important to them.

Natalie works with a range of conditions including Parkinson’s and dementia, both of which can be particularly challenging. Often regular service users don’t recognise her, ask endless questions and try to leave the house. Natalie has a calm chat with them for half an hour and they start to relax and feel content.


One of the areas Natalie focuses most heavily on is the patients’ care plans, reading them carefully and reporting immediately on any aspects that need updating depending on their condition.


Part of the role that Natalie clearly excels in is the complete trust she builds with the patients’ partners, children and friends. The faith they have in her to care for their loved one is unwavering.


“Natalie has been an excellent learner since the start of her Level 2 course,” said Buki Akilapa, her Lifetime Training Care Trainer.  “Natalie is such a hardworking carer. Working many hours every day whilst driving round in the community to make sure she attends to all her clients at the scheduled time and supporting them in the best possible way. During her observations, her clients have all said how extremely lucky they were to have Natalie. She was calm and very supportive at all times and communicated effectively to make sure that she gives them the best possible care.


“Natalie gave choices to her clients and she also respected their wishes while using the care plans and risk assessments as guidelines during her observations. She always called the office if she felt something was not right with any client or their care plans. She made sure that the care plans were updated regularly as the needs and abilities of her clients change. She has very good knowledge of using person centred approaches to improve the quality of life of the clients. She was able to encourage their active participation through inclusive practice during her observations and she ensured that all clients were treated the same way to promote equality.


“Natalie deserves an award for being truly exceptional at work and on her course. I am very proud of her and feel very lucky to be her trainer. I have learnt a lot from her too and will be overjoyed if she gets the award.”

November 2017

Samantha Taws, a Care Worker from Newcastle’s Comfort Call, has been named ‘Care Apprentice of the Year’. She beat off stiff competition from two other outstanding shortlisted care apprentices at a national apprenticeship awards ceremony held at The London Dungeon yesterday.


Samantha (31), who lives in the Brockley Whins Estate in South Shields received the award as part of the sixth annual Lifetime Learner Achievement Awards, which were hosted by national apprenticeship training provider, Lifetime Training. Each year, the Lifetime Training team scours the country to find the most deserving of apprentices, people who are going above and beyond and achieving their career aspirations through hard work and determination.

Samantha was interviewed by a panel of industry judges before being treated to lunch at the Riverside Rooms and a trip on the London Eye. She was trained by Lifetime Trainer Victoria Herbert and this is her story:


Samantha has worked for Comfort Call for six years and completed the Level 3 Health and Social Care apprenticeship with a focus on dementia in May 2017. She was initially a little unsure whether she would be able to undertake the programme due to being profoundly deaf, but her Lifetime Trainer assured her that she would be more than capable of gaining her Level 3 apprenticeship. A highlight for Samantha has been the one-to-one sessions with her Trainer.


Samantha Taws, Care Worker and Lifetime Training care apprentice, said:

“I was really proud the day I finished it all, as this gave me a huge confidence boost. I chose to study the dementia Pathway so I could learn more about it as I find it very interesting and wanted to be a great carer for my service users who suffer from a form of dementia.


“My advice for anyone thinking about doing an apprenticeship would be to talk it over with your Manager and the Lifetime Trainer, to find out if it would suit you. Don’t let a lack of confidence or self-esteem stop you from doing it if you really want to.”


The apprenticeship was delivered by one of the UK’s largest apprenticeship training providers, Lifetime Training, which delivers training to more than 20,000 learners every year.


Alison Simpson, Operations Director – Care at Lifetime Training, added:

“Although all finalists demonstrated momentous effort and achievement both throughout and following their learning journeys, Samantha was an obvious choice. The judging panel were particularly impressed with the development of their sector knowledge and skills.”


Alex Khan, CEO of Lifetime Training, summed up the event:

“All 18 finalists selected this year had a worthy story to tell. Their career journeys, professional achievements and aspirations are a credit to their efforts and that of their Trainers and Managers. We will no doubt all be watching their progress and I for one wish them all the very best for their future careers.”


May 2017

City and County Healthcare Group is pleased to announce the appointment of James Thorburn as Chief Executive.

James joins the group from Serco, where he has been responsible for national and local government services and international business development. He brings a broad range of skills to City and County’s senior management team.

James takes over from Craig Rushton, Chief Executive since 2009. Under Craig’s leadership, City and County has grown considerably to become the largest provider of domiciliary care services in the UK. The group continues to invest heavily in its staff, systems and processes, with a particular focus on quality governance and compliance. This investment, together with the depth and experience of the management team, will ensure the group is well positioned for future growth.

James will focus on consolidating the group’s market-leading position and investing in the workforce as well as developing the group’s offerings in the care-at-home and complex nursing care markets. He will also work to support the health and social care integration agenda at a critical time for the sector.

He says, “I feel privileged to be joining the staff at City and County, whose hard work, skill and dedication have built a leading provider in social care. The sector offers many opportunities; we have to ensure that care-at-home is properly funded so that those in our society who need it receive the appropriate levels of care. I am looking forward to playing my part in helping achieve this.”

Craig Rushton will remain with City and County as a Director and Head of M&A. His focus will be on identifying new opportunities for acquisition and growth. He says, “I am pleased to be handing over the reins to James fully confident that our superb and dedicated team of care workers, managers and support staff are well-placed to steer the organisation through a time of significant challenges for the care sector. I look forward to working with him and the team to continue to bring vulnerable elderly and disabled people the very best care support.”