Helping the world smile

Helping the world smile

Posted by admin on February 3,2020

Written by Sue Bradbury

When Becky Pinnock re-located to Cornwall and took up her new role as manager of Cedar Grange home in Launceston, she wasn’t expecting to meet anyone from the same area of Liverpool as her. But that’s what happened when John Evans arrived. He had grown up in Garston, a significant shipping and container port on Merseyside, too.

John is one of the first residents in a brand-new ward in Cedar Grange that caters for people with advanced dementia. He calls Becky ‘Scouse’ and her chats with him about famous places in Mathew Street like The Cavern Club, Flanagan’s and The Grapes clearly take him back.

“You remember meeting The Beatles when they were playing at The Cavern, don’t you?” asks Becky.

John nods enthusiastically, smiling from ear to ear.

“What about Jerry and The Pacemakers?” she goes on.

“Yes,” he says, his eyes taking on the faraway look that comes with remembering. “And The Quarry Men,” he adds reflectively, immersed in his own thoughts and memories.

Becky trained as a learning disabilities nurse and has always worked in the care sector. “My aunty had Down’s Syndrome and I was 17 when I started volunteering in her day centre,” she explains. “I went on to become a care worker and then achieved my dream of qualifying as a nurse. I’m passionate about what I do and was delighted to move from Essex with my family when the Cedar Grange job came up.”

Cedar Grange has 60 beds – including the 15-bed Harmony Lane wing that opened in November. Designed to provide a welcoming environment for those whose behaviour can be challenging, the new ward has a light, bright atmosphere that successfully combines homeliness with a sense of warm – and soothing – conviviality.

Operations manager Adele Beaton joined the home in Launceston at the same time as Becky. The two share an office and clearly work together well.

“A lot of my job is about recruitment and retention,” says Adele, who spent sixteen years in the banking industry and was a local bank manager before moving into care. “We have 110 staff here at the moment, up from 93 just two months ago, and our aim is to fill the place with lovely people who want to do their best for each and every one of our residents. To achieve that, we’re being as flexible as possible in terms of working arrangements – fitting shifts around individuals when we can and helping out with transport.”

Sometimes, part of the recruitment process is what Adele refers to as the ‘Margaret test’.

“Margaret is a wonderful lady who enjoys being in the sitting room just beyond our reception area. We often ask prospective job candidates to wait there and, if they engage with Margaret, we know they’ve got the sort of personality we’re looking for. Margaret loves being involved and is only too happy to tell us what she thinks.”

There is a very happy buzz about Cedar Grange. One that strikes you as soon as you enter. From the receptionist’s wide smile to Becky and John’s Liverpudlian banter, there’s a natural warmth and energy about the place that feels entirely genuine.

“Someone once told me ‘I can’t change the world, but I can help it smile,’” says Adele. “That sums up the ethos here perfectly.”

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John and Becky

“Someone once told me ‘I can’t change the world, but I can help it smile,’” says Adele. “That sums up the ethos here perfectly.”