Introducing: Jackie Whitfield
Company name: West Park Care
Company website: https://www.westparkcare.co.uk/
Social Media: @WestParkCare
With the highest salaries for carers in the area, including permanent contracts, we catch up with Service Manager Jackie Whitfield at West Park Care in Harrogate to find out more and why they are recruiting more staff…
When was the company founded and how has it grown?
West Park Care was founded three years ago, and we have grown organically up until now, becoming an award-winning home care provider.
Our focus is enabling older people to stay in their own homes, ensuring a high standard of care is available around the clock 365 days a year.
Instead of short 15-minute visits we provide bespoke care packages including hour long visits, ensuring companionship is as important as helping with daily tasks.
Nearly all our clients come to us through recommendation which we take a great deal of pride in.
Why do you stand out from your competition?
Our priority is ensuring we provide the right care package for the right individual – no two care packages are the same.
We do a two-part assessment, with the first visit aiming to put the individual at ease and assess their initial needs.
We then leave people to make their own informed choice, and if they decide to go ahead, we go back for a second more detailed assessment, once they have got used to us.
In the first few weeks, they will be cared for solely by a team of four carers, which will increase to no more than 7-8, so they have the opportunity to build friendships and trust.
We have clients who had previously been looked after by over 50 different carers.
How has Covid affected your business and how are you coping now?
I would like to say that the pandemic has affected us in the sense we have had to have contingency in place for staff who have had to isolate if they have been in contact with someone with covid but that is now easing as people can now work, as long as they lateral flow test every day, for the 10 days.
Similarly, there has been added pressure on time and resources due to weekly PCR testing, which naturally has an effect on the business.
What has become more of an increasing issue is the total lack of signposting for families once their loved ones do need help and assistance.
Families are paying for care that should be subsidised, but there are no obvious pathways for people to take.
There needs to be significant improvements, so families know where to look for support, and get help at the outset. We help so many, but the direction we give should be given to people before they start paying for care.
Who would you most like to have a drink with and why?
Jonny Bairstow… he is a friend of Tom who owns West Park Care, so I have met him a few times and he loves my Yorkshire accent!
What advice would you give the next generation starting their careers?
In Health and Social Care you can have an amazing and progressive career. Take every opportunity you get offered, do your apprenticeship, and move up from there.
There is so much opportunity to affect change and make improvements in social care and it is very rewarding. I started my career in 1986 and haven’t looked back.
Why do you like doing business in Yorkshire?
I am born and bred in Yorkshire and love this county. It is pleasure to drive round and the scenery is just fabulous.
Why are you recruiting at the moment?
The pandemic has had a big impact on care, with many more people choosing to be looked after in their own homes.
We offer the best package for carers in the area, with fixed contracts (not zero hours like most), travel and holidays included, and we pay a top rate of £12ph.
We also have a person-centred approach to our own staff, and work around individuals’ circumstances.
We then provide a two-week induction course with supported on the job training. We stand out in our industry and ensure all our clients and staff are looked after the way we would want to be.
Name your favourite local business and explain what makes them special.
We do a lot of work with Mediquip, who supply the disability equipment we use for our clients.
They even have a click and collect service so when we need something urgently, we can pick it up.
I will also do a shout out for the fabulous Post Office in Spofforth near our offices, with their friendly staff and great sandwiches.
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