All systems go to create 100 new jobs at pioneering dementia care centre

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Mario Kreft at Bryn Seiont site in Caernarfon .

A care organisation has started recruiting staff for a new centre of excellence for dementia care in Gwynedd.

Pendine Park is creating 100 jobs at the £7 million complex at the site of the former Bryn Seiont community hospital on the outskirts of Caernarfon.

Construction work is on track and Canolfan Gofal Bryn Seiont (Bryn Seiont Care Centre) is due to open in September this year.

The pioneering centre is the brainchild of Mario and Gill Kreft, the proprietors of the award-winning Pendine Park who say it will be the perfect way to celebrate the organisation’s 30th anniversary.

They already employ more than 600 people in seven care homes in Wrexham, which cater for a variety of needs, a domiciliary care company and their own in-house training company.

According to the couple, the bilingual centre and 16 extra care apartments to enable couples to stay together and people to stay independent will provide “world class” facilities.

Mr Kreft is the Chair of Care Forum Wales, the main representative body for the care sector in Wales, and was awarded an MBE for his contribution to social care in Wales.

The model for Canolfan Gofal Bryn Seiont is a development of their centre in Wrexham which was officially opened by First Minister Carwyn Jones in 2010.

There, the Bodlondeb care home is divided into eight small, family-like units so that the residents receive individual care and attention while benefiting from the back-up of a larger organisation.

In 2010 Bodlondeb was named the best new dementia care facility in Britain at the UK Over 50s Housing Awards.

Mr Kreft said: “The builders are very confident that they can meet the deadlines that we have to hand over the first phase of the development by the end of September.

“Recruitment has already started and we’re currently in informal discussions with a number of people about senior roles and we’ve also had a very successful jobs fair in Caernarfon with the Jobs Centre.

“We are all very encouraged by the goodwill and support we’ve received and I think the fact that it’s a new development and a new way of doing things interests people, not least because of Bryn Seiont’s history as a hospital providing care to the community.

“Our whole ethos at Pendine Park is very much to develop that sense of ownership and we want people to join the team, both those that are already qualified, and also we see the opportunity to develop people who see social care as a career possibility with real prospects.

“For example, in Wrexham we are working with the Prince’s Trust to encourage young people to work in social care and get qualifications.

“We’re trying to create something really special at Canolfan Gofal Bryn Seiont, something that really hasn’t been done in quite the way before as part of a fully bilingual facility in a predominately Welsh speaking part of Wales.

“We already have an Investors in People gold award in Wrexham and this is something we would like to extend to Caernarfon, using our own training company, Smartcare.

“Our challenge at Bryn Seiont is to recruit people who want to buy into this concept of creating a community care centre, with high quality domiciliary care at the heart of it.

“Canolfan Gofal Bryn Seiont is going to be so much more than a care home. We’re going to work with Bangor University, with colleges in further education and with the community and it is going to have a whole range of services that not everybody would expect to be provided in North West Wales.

“We’re very keen to provide day care and respite services. They’re very dear to our hearts because that’s how Gill and I came into the sector in 1985 because we couldn’t find suitable care for my grandmother.

“We hope that the opening of Bryn Seiont will be the jewel in the crown of our 30th year.

“Our priority is to provide what we call relationship centred care. We want to work with the community, with commissioners, with regulators and actually put the families, our residents, our future residents and the staff at the heart of what we do at Bryn Seiont

“We want to embody this real sense of ownership where people feel they own a service, they feel a part of it and they feel valued and then the service will be so much better.

“The arts will play an important part of life in Bryn Seiont as they do at all our other homes and we are keen to support community based arts initiatives.

“We have had an artist in residence for more than 20 years and we are involved in long running partnerships with both the world-renowned Hallé orchestra and Welsh National Opera.

“We’ve had a phenomenal degree of support from the community right across the range and we hope to take that forward and work with the community.

“We will be a bilingual community based organisation, serving the needs of individuals and their families and trying to ensure that people get the very best care.”