Centre of excellence recruits first 60 staff

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Pendine Park Care Organisation Bryn Seiont site. Pictured are the new recruits.
Bryn Seiont  nears completion. Picture by Richard Williams.
Bryn Seiont nears completion. Picture by Richard Williams.

A care organisation has taken on the first 60 members of staff for its £7 million centre of excellence for dementia care that’s due to open in North Wales.

Pendine Park has organised a month of intensive training for the new recruits at the arts and conference centre, Galeri, in Caernarfon.

Bryn Seiont Newydd (New Bryn Seiont) on the site of the former community hospital, Ysbyty Bryn Seiont, will eventually employ 100 people.

The “world class” bilingual centre will also provide respite and day care in addition to the 71 beds for the people living there.

There are also plans to build 16 companion living apartments as part of a second phase of the development.

The centre is the brainchild of Pendine Park proprietors Mario and Gill Kreft who already employ more than 650 people in seven care homes in Wrexham catering for a variety of needs.

Mr Kreft told the new recruits: “We have to remember we will be in someone’s home. We must treat residents in the appropriate and most respectful way we can.

“We place enrichment high on our list of priorities. We want residents to have opportunities to engage in the arts and music as we know from experience the massive benefits this can bring to their lives.”

He added: “We are excited and thrilled with Bryn Seiont and the staff we have recruited. We chose our new employees very carefully. We only want people who can deliver the right care in the right way.

“That’s our philosophy and we will not be distracted from our goal of excellence when it comes to all areas of care.

“Bryn Seiont will be a bilingual centre and more than 84 per cent of the staff we have recruited are Welsh speakers.”

Landing new jobs at Bryn Seiont is a dream come true for husband and wife team Jamie and Amanda Hitchen, from Penygroes.

Care practitioner Jamie, 33, said: “For me care is about making sure the care home is the resident’s home. I know the importance of treating people with the respect they deserve and making them feel safe.

Amanda, 29, who has worked in critical care, surgical and general nursing before deciding to specialise in dementia care, said: “I found my calling as a nurse so to speak. It’s not an easy job, it never is, and it constantly pulls on your heartstrings.

““I was drawn toward Pendine Park’s whole philosophy. I love the idea of using the arts and music to help bring out people’s roots. I’m absolutely convinced it works and helps make people happy.

“We must never forget the families of residents. They need to feel confident and know their loved ones are getting the right care.”

Care support worker Kelsey Thomas, 18, of Caernarfon says she is thrilled after landing her first ever job as a cleaner and now has her eyes set on climbing the ladder of opportunity.

The former Ysgol Sir Hugh Owen pupil said: “It has been made absolutely clear to me that we are a part of the team and we will be interacting with residents – and that makes me feel brilliant. I’m sure once we all get settled it will be like working as one big family.

“It’s my first proper job and I’m over the moon. I want to be part of a team delivering really good care.”

Mum of four Rita Roberts, 57, of Rhos Isaf, is one of the new care practitioners at Bryn Seiont having worked for Gwynedd County Council’s Home Care Services for more than a decade.

She said: “I delighted to have landed my new role. I was spending too much time travelling and not enough time caring in my previous role.

“I am so impressed with the enrichment programme. I‘ve never really seen it before and can’t believe how simple it is. My own parents are in a care home suffering dementia and I’d love them to benefit from a similar programme to be honest.

“I have been so impressed by the training videos. It’s nothing like I have seen before and so, so simple. I’m so impressed with the whole Pendine Park Care Organisation philosophy. There are opportunities to progress if you want it too!

Margaret Roberts, 51, a married mum of two from Deiniolen, will work as head of housekeepers at Bryn Seiont and says her role will see her overseeing all aspects of care.

She said: “I’ve worked in the care sector for 17 years but what I have seen of Pendine Park is revolutionary. It’s a different and better way to care for people with a range of problems.

“It’s something really new, especially for this area. I’ve seen enrichment programmes before but nothing like we will be putting into practice at Bryn Seiont.

“The thing for me that the message is clear coming into a care environment isn’t about the end of life it about the start of a new chapter of life. They have carefully recruited an amazing team and I’m so looking forward to getting started.”

Care practitioner Matthew McClay, 36, who is shortly moving to a new home in Tregarth with his partner and their 10-year-old daughter, said: “I researched Pendine Park before applying for the role and was so impressed with what I learned.

“It very much becomes home from home. I also found the idea of using music and art as a way of enriching people’s lives so inspiring. It’s so simple yet so different and I love the whole idea of it.

“And I like the way the organisation looks after staff and offers so many opportunities for progression.”

Bryn Seiont manager Sandra Evans added: “What attracted me to Bryn Seiont was the enrichment programme using the arts in all its forms to improve the quality of life for our residents. It’s going to be an integral part of what we do.

“I am really excited by the prospect of leading this excellent team. It’s a great opportunity to provide the best possible care through the medium of Welsh.”