Caring runs in the family as Wrexham teenager follows in nan’s footsteps

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Pendine Park new carers Alisha Bagnall, Emily Williams and Lauren Evans.

A Wrexham teenager is following in her nan’s footsteps after gaining a job at the care home where she used to work.

Pendine Park new carers Alisha Bagnall, Emily Williams and Lauren Evans.

Alisha Bagnall, 17, of Little Acton, is one of three young recruits to join the staff at Hillbury House residential home, Wrexham, after they impressed mangers while doing work experience at the facility as part of their studies at Coleg Cambria.

When Pendine Park care organisation – which owns Hillbury – came to appoint new trainees to its expert team the three girls immediately came to mind.

Hillbury manager Cindy Clutton was delighted to appoint Alisha and her two fellow student care practitioners, Emily Williams and Lauren Evans, both also aged 17.

After six months’ work experience, they have joined Pendine Park’s earn and learn programme which is run by the Pendine Academy.

Cindy said: “Over recent months I have observed all three of these girls and seen the potential they have to offer.

“They started off a little nervous about meeting our residents but over time they have found their feet, their confidence has increased, their ability to interact with our residents improved and their natural enthusiasm for the work is a credit to them. I had no hesitation in offering them the positions of student care practitioners.”

The appointment has extra special significance for Alisha as her late nan, Dulcie Bagnall, used to work at Hillbury House.

“I feel a little bit like I am following in her footsteps,” said Alisha. “Although the home was very different in those days. It was run by nuns and I remember Nan talking about it when I was little. Today the facilities are a lot more modern and the recreational activities and care programmes very forward looking.”

She enjoyed doing work experience at Hillbury before being recruited onto the staff as it gave her the opportunity to familiarise herself with the care environment and make friends with the residents.

She added: “It gave me the chance to confirm for myself that this is what I want to do as a career. It can sometimes be challenging, but ultimately it is extremely rewarding. Alisha hopes to eventually go to university in Cardiff to gain a social care degree, while Emily aims to one day study at Manchester University and Lauren at Liverpool.

Lauren and Alisha are former pupils of Darland High School, Rossett.

Emily, who lives with her family in Little Acton, went to Rhosesni High, near Wrexham.

She said: “I think I am the first person in our family to go into the care sector, but I am loving it. The work is so satisfying and it is great to be able to bring some enjoyment into the life of our residents. I get real pleasure from the recreational activities we do with them and seeing them smile.”

Lauren, who lives in Gwersyllt, said: “I am thrilled to have the chance to join the Hillbury team for the foreseeable future as I know it will give me such an excellent grounding in care work generally.”

Alisha and Lauren are now serving apprenticeships in health and social care and will be undertaking Institute of Leadership and Management courses via the in-house academy.

Meanwhile, Emily is continuing with her permanent part-time post which allows her to continue with her Health and Social Care Level 3 course at Wrexham-based Coleg Cambria while also undertaking weekday shifts and some weekend work at Hillbury.

Emily said: “We are incredibly lucky because everything we learn here puts what we are studying into a realistic context.”

Cindy said: “Alisha, Lauren and Emily are exactly the sort of young recruits we need, as they can take on board from the very start of their careers the extremely high standards of care giving which have always been advocated by Pendine Park, not just here at Hillbury, but also at our sister residential facilities in Wrexham and Caernarfon.

”Lauren and Alisha are now undertaking their foundation apprenticeships and are progressing well, as is Emily.

“Better still, they’re earning while they’re learning and laying firm foundations for their careers in social care.”