Woman who cared for grandmother with dementia to run £7 million care centre

New manager of Bryn Seiont, Sandra Evans.


A manager has been appointed to run a new £7 million centre of excellence for people with dementia – and hundreds of others have applied for jobs there.

Sandra Evans, 36, an experienced care home manager, was inspired to apply for the position at Canolfan Bryn Seiont Newydd in Caernarfon after caring for her grandmother who has the cruel condition.

The centre is being built by award-winning care organisation Pendine Park on the site of the former Bryn Seiont community hospital and is due to open in the autumn, creating 100 new jobs in the town.

According to Pendine Park, they have been flooded with job applications from people wanting to work there.

Mother-of-three Sandra, 36, from Llanddaniel, on Anglesey, looked after her grandmother, Eleanor Burrows, 89, for several years.

She said: “The fact that I cared for my grandmother inspired me to want to care for people with dementia.

“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.

“The residents at Bryn Seiont are going to be cared for in the same way that I would want my grandmother to be cared for. I want the residents to have the very best care, to be treated with respect, dignity and for them to feel fulfilled.”

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

The company already employ more than 600 people in Wrexham where they have seven care homes which cater for a variety of needs, a domiciliary care company and in-house training company.

The new bilingual centre and 16 extra care apartments to enable couples to stay together and people to stay independent will provide “world class” facilities.

Sandra, a former pupil of Ysgol David Hughes school earned an NVQ Level 2 in care at Coleg Menai college in Bangor before becoming a care assistant with Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey County Council.

She then worked as a health care assistant with district nurses, helping GPs with home visits in the Caernarfon area. During that time she earned an NVQ Level 3 in care and a Level 4 Diploma.

After that she became deputy head of Plas Pengwaith Home for the Elderly in Llanberis, before becoming manager of Cartrefle care home in Llanrwst.

When she heard of the job of manager going at Bryn Seiont she jumped at the chance.

She added: “When I looked up what Mario and Gill had done at Pendine Park I was blown away with what they’re doing with their enrichment programme.

“I want people who live in Bryn Seiont to be able to live a happy and fulfilled life.

“There’s enough living space for people to be able to walk about. There are secure gardens for residents to enjoy being outdoors and to take part in gardening activities. There’s opportunity for people to live as independently as possible.

“I want the residents to be able to go out into the community as much as possible. We’re also going to have an art therapist, and a music therapist. There’ll be a huge programme of things for the residents to be able to do if they wish to.

“A month before we open the staff will begin their training which will be a full induction into the Pendine Park enrichment programme as well as all mandatory training.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new residents and getting to know them. I’m sure we’ll make a lot of friends in the community as well. We want to bring people in to visit the home, including schools.

“There’s huge need in the area for the services that Bryn Seiont provides. Not just for people with dementia, but also people with mental health problems and learning difficulties.

“It’s going to be split into units which we’re calling small houses. It will have eight houses that cater for up to nine people each.

“People will be assessed before they come and then given an appropriate home to meet their individual needs. We’ll also match the staff to the people they’ll be caring for.

“We’re going to have activities going on throughout each day, and things going on in the evenings and on weekends as well.

“Life isn’t supposed to come to a stop when people move into a care home.”

Mario Kreft is pleased to have Sandra on board.

He said: “We were looking for a very special individual who was going to buy into the Pendine Park culture, and particularly to provide high quality social care to enrich people’s lives, that is very much about the individual, and what mattered to them. I think Sandra is really qualified to be able to do that.

“It’s interesting that both she and I can recount how we became aware of social care through our grandparents. There’s something in that I think. I think if you start from the premise of how you would want your nearest and dearest to be cared for and supported. I think that makes the Pendine Park philosophy very much something that she can relate to and be part of.

“The culture of the area is very familiar to Sandra as a Welsh speaker, she’s someone who understands the importance that the arts plays in Welsh life and the community.

“I am confident we have a manager in Sandra who can really make a difference to people’s lives.”