Five minutes with…

Carol Ball Deputy Matron, Fremington Manor


Carol Ball is Deputy Matron at Care South’s Fremington Manor care home in Barnstaple, Devon. She recently celebrated 25 years working at the home.

Carol began her nursing training, when she was just 18 years of age as a student nurse at the North Devon Infirmary. It was then that she fell in love with nursing – a passion that she still has today!

In 1992, after a career in the NHS, she joined Fremington Manor as Sister. She thoroughly enjoyed her role and quickly became a real asset to the home, progressing to Deputy Matron in 2007.

Carol explains: “As soon as I joined Fremington Manor, it felt like a second home, there is a great sense of community in the home with both the residents and colleagues.

“As Deputy Matron, I work closely with Corinne, our home’s Matron – we have a fantastic relationship. On a day-to-day basis, I am responsible for ensuring that each day we have the correct number of staff on duty and recently I have undertaken a programme of recruitment – choosing those people that represent our HEART values.

“During my time at the home I have been fortunate to be able to study for several work-related qualifications including an NVQ 4 in Leadership and Management, a Mentorship course, and end of life and palliative care courses. As part of one of these courses, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to compare our own care planning for those suffering with dementia with St Christopher’s Hospice in London – part of my research included speaking to several government ministers and their assistants. Following completion of this course, I am far more proactive in this aspect of palliative care, ensuring that even at the end of their lives the voices of our residents are heard.

“I am passionate about influencing care delivery through education and communication; I am currently working with a small group of our Care Team Leaders, helping to guide them to become competent and confident in their role, for me helping to develop others is incredibly rewarding and one of the best parts of my job!

“My role continues to evolve on a daily basis, we are a busy team at Fremington, however, we are very much one team – all spokes in a wheel, working together to deliver the best care for our residents, whilst importantly upholding the Care South HEART values.

“I feel very lucky to work for Care South, I dearly love my job and there hasn’t been one day in the last 25 years that I have thought differently. I would recommend a career in nursing care to anyone with a caring attitude and a propensity for fun, Care South is a wonderful company to work for.”

Natalie Hosking Care Team Leader, Queensmead


Why I HEART my Job – Natalie Hosking – Care Team Leader

Natalie Hosking is a Care Team Leader at Queensmead, a residential care home located in the historic harbour town of Christchurch in Dorset.

Natalie has been working for Care South for four years, beginning her career in care as a Care Assistant at Queensmead. Natalie said: “I was attracted to Care South by the HEART values, which are reflected across the company and can be seen in action every single day. Queensmead has a very welcoming and homely atmosphere and is passionate about the quality of care provided to residents. There is also a fantastic bond between staff and residents, which has a really positive impact and makes the home a happy place to be.”

Natalie progressed to become a Senior Care Assistant and completed an NVQ Level 2 Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care. She then worked as a Senior Carer before being appointed Care Team Leader. Natalie is now studying for an NVQ Level 3 Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care.

In her role as Care Team Leader, Natalie is responsible for the care team on duty and for ensuring the very best standards of care are provided to residents. Natalie explains: “I ensure that the staff on duty are aware of their roles and responsibilities for the shift and follow the HEART values. My day involves administering any medication to residents, following stringent health and safety policies. I also review care plans and liaise with health professionals and family members.

“The most important, and the best part of my job, is spending quality time with the residents, ensuring that their wishes and needs are met and that they are happy and content. I try to encourage a positive, upbeat atmosphere at the home as well as being on-hand with a reassuring hug and kind words at difficult times.

“A career in care is hugely rewarding; knowing that you have done your very best to ensure the happiness, health, well-being and safety of residents is incredibly satisfying.

“I already have, and will continue to recommend a career in care with Care South. There are lots of opportunities for career progression and to work towards specialist qualifications. The sense of reward when you finish your shift is something that I don’t believe could be matched in any other career.”

Queensmead is a welcoming and homely 40-bedroom residential home. With lots of bright and spacious communal areas, including lounges, a conservatory and large garden, the home prides itself on delivering the highest standards of care, tailored for individuals.

Debbie Hodges Home Carer in Bath and North East Somerset


Why I HEART my job, by Debbie Hodges, Home Carer in Bath and North East Somerset

Debbie Hodges is a Home Carer for Care South in Bath and North East Somerset. With over 20 years’ experience in the care sector, Debbie worked as a Deputy Home Manager at a care home before making the move to home care.

Debbie said: “After working in a care home setting, I decided to try home care. Care South was recommended to me and I must say it was definitely the right choice – I’ve now been here over two years.”

Debbie holds a variety of care related qualifications, including NVQ Levels 2, 3 and 4 in Health and Social Care, an NVQ Level 2 in Leadership and Level 3 in Community Mental Health.”

“I usually start my day at 7am with a breakfast call to my first client. I then have another three or four morning visits, before starting the lunchtime calls. Visits can last anywhere from half an hour to an hour and three quarters depending on the needs of each individual.”

“In my role as a Home Carer, I provide personal care, as well as administering medication. I carry out a few domestic visits during the week, helping clients in their homes with chores such as light cleaning, preparing meals or the weekly shop and where possible, and when time allows, I also provide this support during my other visits.”

“I see the same clients every day and usually twice a day, which has to be the best part of my job as it means I can get to know them all and develop close relationships with them. It also means they see a familiar and friendly face and get continuity of care.
“Being a Home Carer is hugely rewarding as I know the role I do allows my clients to stay in their own homes.”

Care South Home Care provides care and support to everyone from young people and adults with physical or learning disabilities, to people who need a bit of help getting back to normal after an illness or short spell in hospital. Many of our clients are older people who need a helping hand with their everyday lives to maintain their independence. Home care is personalised to each individual’s needs, be it on-going, short-term or from time-to-time to help provide respite for a family member or carer.

Jenny Webster Activities Organiser, Maiden Castle House


Why I HEART my job, by Jenny Webster – Activities Organiser at Maiden Castle House

Jenny Webster is the Activities Organiser at Maiden Castle House in Dorchester.

Jenny joined Care South in November 2010, when she was attracted back to the care sector following a variety of roles including jobs at the London Fire Service and Thames Valley Police, alongside stints in caring. One of her first jobs was working on the night shift in a care home and she has also worked as a Senior Residential Social Worker in a school for boys with social, emotional and behavioural issues. She has also worked as a Manager for Relate Oxfordshire and as bank staff, working with children and the elderly.

Jenny explains: “When I saw the advertisement for Activities Coordinator at Maiden Castle House, I couldn’t resist the pull back to the care sector. On visiting the home, I instantly liked the atmosphere and I know it was the right decision as I am very happy here, working with a wonderful group of people.”

Jenny holds a variety of qualifications, many of which have been gained via distance learning whilst working for Care South, including NVQ Level 2 in Palliative Care, Dementia Care, Health and Safety, Diversity, Safe Handling of Medicines and Activities. She is also a Dementia Friends Champion working with families and staff to help them better understand dementia.

Jenny is also an active member of her local community, serving as Chair of the Parish Council and Co-Chair/Procession Officer for the Dorchester Carnival, as well as Chair of the Dorchester Dementia Alliance, in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Society.

In her role as Activities Coordinator, Jenny is responsible for the activities programme at Maiden Castle House. She says: “There is a lot of variety in my job and no two days are ever the same. I research and organise the home’s activities, supported by a team of three Social Support workers. I work closely with residents to compile their Life Histories – these are very valuable documents which detail their key family members and friends, career histories, hobbies and interests as well as important life events. I also develop individual Activity Care Plans for residents so that activities reflect their interests and wishes.”

“A key part of my role is to work in the local community to encourage people to visit us at Maiden Castle House and join us for social activities. I also work with local schools to organise visits and run a monthly bingo session for residents, visitors and members of sheltered housing.”

“At the home, I deliver Dementia Friends Sessions for staff and visitors as well as organising all of the fayres, entertainment and activities sessions for residents. We organise a wide variety of activities, including art and crafts, gardening, flower arranging, bingo, exercise classes, cookery sessions and quizzes. We have many visits from musicians, performers and history groups and even donkeys, owls and dogs visit the home!”

“The best part of my job is seeing the residents happy and fulfilled. I love to hear them laugh and to see them getting involved in the activities we organise. I also enjoy being on hand when they need a reassuring hug or hand to hold, as well as supporting relatives, helping them to learn more about dementia.”

“I would certainly recommend a career with Care South – it is hugely rewarding. To be an Activities Organiser you need a bright and outgoing personality, alongside an ability to be calm and comforting when required.”

“Care South is a great employer and I would certainly recommend them to others, and often do! They provide excellent training opportunities and I have great relationships with my colleagues and managers. The Values of Care South are identical to my personal values, and promote excellence, Honesty and teamwork.”

Maiden Castle House is a 66-bedroom residential and dementia home, divided into two units to provide a warm and homely environment. All bedrooms are ensuite and there are plenty of bright and spacious communal areas, including lounges, a quiet room and outside courtyards. The home prides itself on delivering high-quality care that is tailored for individuals.

Fiona Jordan Training Administrator at Care South Head Office


Why I HEART my job, by Fiona Jordan, Training Administrator at Care South Head Office

Fiona Jordan is a Training Administrator at Care South’s head office in Poole. Fiona joined the Care South team in May 2016, when she made the move from a career in retail management to the care sector. With A-levels in Business Communication and Media Studies, Fiona brings a wealth of people management and administration experience to her role at Care South.

Fiona explains: “I was attracted to Care South by its HEART values of Honesty, Excellence, Approach, Respect and Teamwork, which are outlined on the company’s website and can very much be seen in action across the organisation every day. I also enjoy working for a not-for-profit organisation that is focused on delivering high-quality, compassionate and tailored care.”

“As a Training Administrator, I am responsible for coordinating and planning the courses run by the Care South Training department. The company provides a robust training programme for all its employees, so mine is a busy role! This includes booking staff onto courses, organising certificates and maintaining a database of all training completed by staff members. I also produce and check training documents and get involved with event planning.”

“I love the variety in my role and particularly embrace the organisation and planning side of the job. A typical day involves responding to requests for training, liaising with Home Managers to update them on the training completed by staff and sending out training resources. I also manage the training diary, ensuring it is kept up-to-date with any changes or bookings.”

“I would thoroughly recommend a career with Care South. As well as working with a great team, there are many learning and development opportunities available; I’m currently undertaking a Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration. The company cares about its employees and is committed to providing the best quality care for all its residents and service users.”

Emma Cotton Home Manager, Queensmead


Why I HEART my job, by Emma Cotton – Home Manager at Queensmead

Emma Cotton is the Home Manager at Queensmead, a residential care home located in the beautiful historic harbour town of Christchurch in Dorset.

Emma has been working for Care South since the age of 18, when she started working for the Dorset Trust before it changed its name to Care South. She commenced her career as a Care Assistant at Care South’s Wickmeads care home, before promotions to the roles of Night Shift Leader, Care Team Leader, and then Deputy Home Manager, before being appointed Home Manager at Queensmead in 2016.

Emma said: “My Mum worked for Care South for 18 years, so as a child I was very much involved in Queensmead, attending its annual fayres and parties. A career in care was the only thing I ever really wanted. Throughout my time at Care South, I have been provided with excellent training and a chance to progress in my career.”

Emma holds a Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care, a Leadership and Management Qualification and is close to completing a Level 5 Diploma in Health and Social Care Leadership and Management.

In her role as Home Manager, Emma is responsible for the day-to-day running of the home, ensuring a first-rate level of care is provided for residents. Emma said: “I enjoy the variety in my role; I never know what the day will entail. I love spending time with the residents and their families, as well as the management side of the job.”

“I believe the key to running a successful care home lies in leading by example. I am a very hands-on Manager, and pride myself on knowing each of my residents and their families personally. I like nothing more than helping out with daily care tasks or joining residents for trips out. Good community involvement is paramount to the happiness of our residents. Seeing them stimulated and happy is very rewarding. The residents are the best part of my job; they are like my extended family.”

“A well trained and happy team is vital for a successful home. At Queensmead, I encourage an open and honest approach for staff, residents and their families. Each and every member of my team is valued and the success of the home is down to their hard work, dedication and commitment.”

“I would certainly recommend a career with Care South. There are plenty of opportunities for career progression, with specialist training and qualifications to work towards. There is immense job satisfaction.”

“Care South is passionate about the quality of care it delivers. It has provided me with fantastic training and development opportunities and allowed me to fulfil my career ambitions.”

Queensmead is a 40-bedroom residential home, providing a homely and welcoming atmosphere. Featuring plenty of communal areas, including bright and spacious lounges, a conservatory and large garden, the home prides itself on delivering the best possible care, tailored for individuals.