As our care arm, Cross Keys Care, celebrates its fifth birthday, I wanted to look back at how the service has evolved and flourished in ways we could barely have imagined back in 2013.
We knew that there was a huge shortage of good quality housing for older people that bridged the gap between sheltered accommodation, which provides a lighter level of support, and full blown residential care. And we knew our experience of sheltered housing put us in a great position to provide this. But we wanted to provide the whole service – the care as well as the housing. It was a big leap into a new area for us, but a risk we knew was worth taking, both commercially and for the level of service we knew we could provide, if we looked at things differently.
And so our plan was born – to launch a truly person-centred care service to the residents of Peterborough in their own homes, and to combine this service with what we know best – housing.
Our Community Care service started first, followed quickly with the building of Kingfisher Court, replacing tired sheltered units with a state of the art extra care community with 72 one and two bedroom apartments.
Standing on that muddy building site as Kingfisher started to grow, I knew it was going to be good, but it has exceeded our wildest expectations. It is a warm and welcoming community, with the restaurant at its very heart. The team there are more than just care and support workers, they are like family, and every time I visit I am always struck by the smiles. So many smiles and cheery ‘good mornings!’ It’s a truly happy place, with events and activities that involve the wider community and great partners.
And now, five years on we have just officially opened our second extra care scheme, Lapwing Apartments. Another buzzing community full of laughter, lots of activity in the games room and peaceful reflection in the library and music from the grand piano.
I am so proud of the buildings and the security they provide people, how they combine the technology of our LifeLine telecare service with personal care and how the facilities enable friendships to grow, in the restaurant, the library or the lounge. But most of all, I am proud of the team.
From the outset I wanted Cross Keys Care to employ the best, and to do that we needed to invest in our employees. We have all heard horror stories of care workers having to take their travel between jobs out of the allotted care time, terrible wages and poorly trained workers doing tasks beyond their capabilities. That was never going to happen on my watch! We have a really great training programme, from mentoring and support to specialist training and a clear career development plan. We also pay a competitive salary, paid holiday, mileage, free uniforms and paid travel time. The result of this approach? Ten individuals from our care team have been shortlisted in this year’s Great British Care Awards, and I couldn’t b e happier!
Our Care Service is completely person-centred, with each client having an individual care plan that changes as their needs do. And with our latest innovations, this person-centred focus starts from someone’s first contact with us. Now, our potential customers can call into Customer Central to speak to our care team face to face, about the way we can help them or their loved one, either with LifeLine, personal care or even better, both! Working together to provide round the clock support and peace of mind.
This face to face contact is so important when you are dealing with something so private as personal care. We can start to build a relationship with our clients from the first contact – a relationship that will last for years.
We are continuing to look for further extra care development opportunities and grow our Community Care service. The good news that funding for supported housing is safe for now gives us the security to continue to look at increasing this valuable resource for some of our most vulnerable residents. And we will continue to build partnerships to deliver even more. Like the Smart Flat that has just opened in Kingfisher Court, where we are working with Peterborough City and Cambridgeshire County Councils to give people a chance to get hands on with all the technology that is out there, like our LifeLine alarm. We will never cease in our drive to enable people to live the lives they want to lead in the home that means so much to them.
The future of Cross Keys Care is looking rosy – I can’t wait for the next five years!