Love of care sees Littlehampton staff clock up 100 years of loyal service

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Staff at a residential home in Littlehampton are celebrating their careers in care with 100 years of loyal service between them. Care Practitioner, Carol Briggs, is the longest serving member of staff at Oakland Grange on St Flora’s Road, having forged a 23-year career at the 39 bedroomed home.

Carol says she still looks forward to going to work every morning.

“I really enjoy what I do,” she said. “I did hairdressing and shop work before I started in care about 30 years ago. I came here as a care assistant and I’ve done so many roles, even assistant manager. I’m approaching retirement now, but I love just being with the residents and knowing I’m doing something for them.”

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Kitchen Assistant, Julie Lambert, has 17 years’ service while Oakland Grange’s Deputy Manager, Maria Combes, and Lead Practitioner, Julie Dunstall, progressed their careers at the home together, both starting as night care assistants almost ten years ago.

Siobhan Trigg, Carol Briggs and Hazelle Binns celebrateSiobhan Trigg, Carol Briggs and Hazelle Binns celebrate
Siobhan Trigg, Carol Briggs and Hazelle Binns celebrate

“I was working with children with special educational needs before I came into the care industry,” said Maria. “It gave me the opportunity to work nights so I could be at home during the day when my children were young. I’d planned on it being a stop gap and I thought I’d go back into childcare, but I fell in love with it!”

Unlike Maria, Julie was an experienced care assistant when she joined Oakland Grange, and although she’s nearing retirement she says she won’t be stopping anytime soon.

“I love what I do,” she says. “I can’t imagine doing anything else or doing it anywhere else. I come to work and I’m happy, Oakland Grange is my second home. There is good support, I can even turn to the CEO, and it’s a great place to work.”

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The committed staff team also includes Senior Practitioners Ria Marquez and Patricia Wells, who’ve given 10 years’ and nine years’ service respectively, and Marion Dilloway, Advanced Care Practioner who’s worked at the home for nine years.

The team celebrating a combined total of 100 years' serviceThe team celebrating a combined total of 100 years' service
The team celebrating a combined total of 100 years' service

Housekeeper Hazelle Binns has kept the Edwardian property clean and organised for 12 years, alongside Domiciliary Team Leader, Siobhan Trigg, who’s clocked up a decade at Oakland Grange.

“Oakland Grange is my second family,” Hazelle said. “I have hearing loss and I’m very lucky that the management has given me the support I need. If I have to do an online training course, they make sure there are subtitles. They know I need to lip read so they make sure conversations are face-to-face, and the staff are even learning some basic sign language.

“I used to be a self-employed handyperson, so I often help residents to fix things, and I join in with the activities – the job offers me so much more than just cleaning.”

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The home has celebrated their dedication, presenting them with certificates and bouquets. Home manager, Kim Maw, said she is lucky to have such committed staff.

The dedicated staff teamThe dedicated staff team
The dedicated staff team

“They are superb at what they do and it’s not many care homes that can boast such a consistent team,” she said. “It makes a huge difference to the residents when they see the same faces every day. They build up relationships, the staff know them well, and that enables them to provide better, more tailored care.

“One of our ladies will only take a bath if she’s helped by a particular member of staff and that member of staff will come in on her day off to do it. I’m extremely proud of them.”

Kevin Humphrys, CEO of Oakland Care Group, said care is a great career.

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“We recognise the importance of job satisfaction and personal development, so we have developed comprehensive career pathways for our dedicated staff members, ensuring that they not only find enjoyment in their roles but also have the opportunity to achieve their desired career aspirations." he said. “The team here are testament to that.”