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Newsletter – Winter 2018/19 (Text version)

This is a text only version of the Newsletter. Click here for the full version in PDF format.

Welcome to our latest company newsletter.  Inside you’ll find a warm welcome to everyone who’s transferred to our TLC services from both Allied Health and Westminster Home care over the last few months, there’s an introduction to our new Choices Specialist Community Care and Support services in West Yorkshire too, together with details of how to get a free flu jab (if you’re a care or support worker) and a ‘word from the Chief Exec’ (which includes an update around our WarrenCare services in the North West).

We’re currently in the process of giving our newsletters a bit of an overhaul and this shorter edition will be followed by another in early spring.  They’ll still be all the usual features around health and wellbeing, compliments, draw winners, charity events and additional information to support our staff and service users.  Please find our hints and tips for winter included this time.

We look forward to being in touch again soon and hope you enjoy this edition.    Please read on to see details of all our recent news and if there’s anything you’d particularly like to see included next time, please do let us know.  In the meantime we send you our very best wishes for 2019.

Optimo Care Group – Our Vision & Values:

Our vision is ‘To deliver a service to be proud of’: Further to information included in previous newsletters around the letters P, R & I, please find details of the meaning behind the letters ‘D’ & ‘E’, used within our PRIDE logo, below.  Please look out for a recap of all of our company values in our next newsletter...

‘D’ is for ‘Delight’: Ensuring every individual service user, customer, commissioners and other stakeholders are delighted by the service we deliver...

  • Delivering high levels of customer service and                     
  • seeking to exceed all expectations.
  • A strong commitment to customer service
  • Asking ourselves, ‘how we could do it better...’
  • Going the extra mile
  • Doing the little things that make a difference
  • Taking pride in delivering a high quality service
  • Exceeding contractual and regulatory obligations

‘E’ for ‘Engagement’: Recognising the value of engaging with service users, other stakeholders and staff to improve and develop our services.

  • Providing opportunities for staff, service users and other stakeholders to engage fully in the organisation
  •  Empowering service users to shape and control their service
  • Supporting people to express their views and be involved in decisions that affect them
  • Involving staff at all levels within the organisation, both internally and externally, with service users, customers, commissioners and other stakeholders.
  • Valuing our employees and ensuring recognition for a job well done...

PERSON CENTRED – RESPONSIVE – INNOVATION – DELIGHT – ENGAGEMENT

A word from the Chief Exec,

The long hot summer now seems a very distant memory, I hope everyone enjoyed the lovely weather we had this year.  Thank you to all of our staff for helping our service users manage the heat and also for chasing around the community delivering important care services to the people of Yorkshire and the North West. With the changing weather, let me be the first to remind you that the heart of the winter is now just around the corner and I’d like to thank all of our care and support workers again, ahead of the adverse weather which is likely to follow in the New Year...

A quick recap on a busy six months, firstly a massive welcome to everyone who joined us in our TLC Sheffield service, following their transfer from Westminster Homecare.  A huge welcome also goes to those who have transferred to our TLC Rotherham and Doncaster services from Allied Healthcare recently.  I’m very pleased to announce the acquisition of Choices Homecare Ltd too (now known as Choices Specialist Community Care and Support), based in West Yorkshire, a service (almost!) as old as TLC and WarrenCare, at 19 years young!  They provide specialist care and support as well as domiciliary care across Kirklees and Wakefield. Welcome to all in this new team!

I’d like to extend my gratitude and admiration for our teams over in the North West.  Having successfully navigated a complex contract transfer process, they continued to provide a high standard of care and consistency, despite a very challenging process and factors outside of Optimo’s control. Now this is resolved, I’m really pleased to see WarrenCare settling back into “service as normal” mode, despite a difficult year.

Please take a look at our refreshed Twitter and Facebook social media. We want your likes! As recruitment and the social care market continues to be tough, we want to share our news and views and attract new people to join our teams.  It would be great if you can take a look and say hello, engagement is hugely important to us and we all need to work on this together!

I hope you enjoy this edition of our newsletter and send you my very best wishes for 2019.

Please note our Facebook pages are now live and contain all of our contact details.  Why not check them out and like and share our news soon?                                                    

Best Wishes, Richard Walker

More about Choices Home Care...                                               

Town and Local Care already has a long established CQC 'Good Rated' care service operating across Kirklees and Calderdale and we have now added Holme Valley based Choices Home Care Ltd of Shepley to our family of companies.

Our Chief Executive Richard Walker, himself from the Holme Valley area, is keen to continue offering a wide range of community and home based care and support services and to continue creating more local job opportunities throughout Holme Valley and its surrounding areas.  We are therefore thrilled to confirm the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Choices Home Care Ltd for an undisclosed fee.                                                                                       

Choices Home Care Ltd, also rated “Good” by CQC, was founded in 1999 and provides specialist and complex home and community support services across Wakefield, Kirklees and

the surrounding areas.  Providing great care and dependable support has always been core to the valuesof Choices owner Amanda Bunbury and her dedicated long standing team.  Well done to the team involved with the smooth transfer and welcome to all of Choice Home Care’s, (now known as Choices Specialist Community Care and Support), staff, upon joining our ever growing team, we wish them good luck in their career with the Optimo Care Group of companies...

Health & Wellbeing:

Thank you to all South Yorkshire staff who completed the 'Workplace Health Needs Assessment Survey'. More information will follow soon around this South Yorkshire Partnership initiative, 'Healthy Workplace Award'. Thanks again for participating in the completion of this survey.

Pension Wise: The Optimo Group cannot provide any advice relating to pensions but we wanted to make everyone aware of the details of Pension Wise, a service set up by the government to provide help, support or advice if anyone has any enquiries. You can check out their website https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk/ or call 0800 138 3944 to make a free appointment.

Free Flu Jabs For Care Workers:                                                 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed homecare workers are again eligible for free flu vaccinations, in England (for the winter of 2018/19), as they were last year.

Where and how can eligible staff get a free vaccination?

You can go to your own GP practice or ask at any pharmacy. To prove that you are eligible you will need to take identification with you, this will need to show your name and the name of your employer. This could be your ID badge, a letter from the organisation (on letter headed paper), or a recent payslip.  Please bear in mind that not all GP’s and pharmacy may take part in the scheme as this is at their discretion.

 

A Reminder of our Flexible Working Policy:    

Here at the Optimo Group of companies we aim to be as flexible as we are able and have a full flexible working policy in place, should anyone find themselves in a position where they wish to apply for this.  Please see guidance notes below:

  • An employee must have been employed by us for a minimum of 26 weeks and applications must be made in writing or via a change of hours form.
  • We would ask for details of your proposed new working pattern, the date you’d like this to commence (and what implications you think this would have on the company including how you think these can be dealt with).
  • Within 28 days we will then either write to you to confirm your request has been authorised and confirm the start date for your revised working hours, or set up a meeting to discuss your application further. (If a meeting is held we will then let you know in writing if your application has been upheld and if not you will receive an explanation of why your request can’t be met at the time including details of the appeals process).
  • Please note, at the date of your application you must not have made a previous flexible working request within the last twelve months.
  • If a flexible working pattern is agreed we will do our very best to set a start date within 28 days.  Please give us as much notice as possible if you are submitting a request.

 

Discounts for Carers:

We have had this discount opportunity pointed out to us by one of our fabulous support workers from WarrenCare.  We’ve had a look and there are opportunities for both employed and unpaid carers to benefit from the discounts on offer, as well as some offers their families may be able to take advantage of.  If you’re a carer why not check out now to see if there’s anything you’d benefit from? See website details below, it’s free to register

https://www.discountsforcarers.com/   

(Please note these details are included purely for use in the event that anyone wants to check out the information within, we do not imply any endorsement or recommendations by the Optimo Group.)

Our ‘Hints & Tips’ to help you stay warm and safe in winter weather:

For Service Users:

  • Keep your bedroom at a minimum of 18 degrees centrigrade at night. (The room you are occupying during the day time should be no less than 21 degrees centigrade).
  • Wear several thin layers of clothing to keep the heat in - lots of thin layers will keep you warmer than just one thick layer.
  • Use a hot water bottle to warm your bed (do not use with an electric blanket). Several layers of covers on your bed will trap warm air to keep you warmer.
  • Have regular warm drinks and warm foods such as soup or stew. Have at least one hot meal per day.  Use flasks and thermal cups to keep drinks warm.

Call 0800 169 6565 to obtain a free copy of Age UK’s ‘Winter Wrapped Up’ guide or check out http://www.ageuk.org.uk or https://www.nhs.uk/staywell/ for more information.

For Staff:

  • Check out free winter safety checks at garages and keep your fuel tank topped.
  • Remember to check out local news/travel bulletins before you set off – be prepared!
  • Take a warm drink in a flask, some snacks and a blanket for if you break down in the cold. Keep your mobile phone fully charged & take a car charger/power pack.
  • Carry a piece of carpet to provide grip and a shovel when snow is imminent.
  • Keep your windows/mirrors clear and remove snow from your car before setting off.

More information can be found by checking out http://www.rac.co.uk/advice/winter-driving/driving-in-snow/.

Our ‘Top 5 Fire Safety Tips’:

  • Don’t smoke in bed or when you feel drowsy. (Care workers should look out for scorch marks or burns on bedding, clothing or furniture) they should also report any issues around emollient creams (due to them being flammable).
  • Check heaters (and candles if used) are away from curtains, clothing, beds or other furniture.
  • Ensure fluff is removed from tumble dryers as it can catch light – care workers who carry out laundry tasks as part of a service user’s call should check and remove this on a regular basis.
  • Remember not to overload sockets and extension leads.  Report signs of faults such as scorch marks on electrical equipment including sockets.
  • Ensure smoke alarms are installed and tested regularly.

Check out https://www.fireservice.co.uk/ for further guidance on fire safety in the home and details of how to arrange a free visit by your local fire brigade to support you with this.  You can also check if a product has been recalled using the website https://productrecall.campaign.gov.uk .  Care workers should report any issues or concerns identified to the office as soon as possible.  In the event of a fire always dial 999.

Update on Fundraising Events: 

Kent completes his Iron Man Challenge in Support of BIADS (Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support):

In our last newsletter we told you about our recruitment manager, Jane Lister’s partner, Kent Brownlie, raising money for the Dementia Support group BIADS (Barnsley Independent Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support). Kent competed in one of the UK’s toughest challenges. ‘The Bolton Ironman Challenge’ and raised a total of £2200 in aid of this valued charity.  Kent & Jane thank everyone who supported him to raise funds for a cause so close to their hearts.                              

For more information about BIADS and the work they do, check out their website  biads.org.uk/

Vikki’s Roberts of Town & Local Care also completed her ‘Half Marathon’ too. 

Vikki raised £190 in support of ‘MIND’, the charity that supports ‘better mental health’, see their website for information and where to find advice around this important subject: https://www.mind.org.uk/

WELL DONE TO BOTH AND THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO DONATED FOR THEIR SPONSORSHIP.

For Attention of Staff: 

  • Please take extra care at this time of year due to falling leaves, wet weather and any frosts and slippery surfaces which may occur.  Always approach ramps head on whilst holding on to any rails or grab bars which may be available.  Report any issues or concerns to allow action to be taken promptly ( some things to look out for are surfaces which may need gritting, overgrown greenery spilling across walkways, any issues re outside lights not working, leaves that may need clearing, as well as anything else about which you may have concerns). The sooner you report it, the sooner we can look into any actions needed – thank you for your support with this. 
  • Please note that due to the high number of leavers who fail to work notice across the group, we are now invoking Clause 12 of our contracts of employment.  This states that, in the event that an employee fails to work their notice period and are therefore in breach of the agreement, the company reserve the right to deduct a sum equivalent to their normal daily wage from their final wage or other monies due, upon termination of employment.  The company will not deduct any sum in excess of the loss suffered as a consequence of the breach.  The standard notice period we ask for is four weeks (to be given in writing), should an employee decide they wish to leave the company.  After which any uniform, badges or other equipment should be returned on their last working day.

If you are thinking of leaving us, why not give our ‘Employee Engagement Officer’ a call? We really may be able to help!  Please feel welcome to call Elaine Bradley-Smith on 07912 108871 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , if you have any issues, problems, concerns or are just simply thinking of leaving us for any reason and would like to talk.

(If you need further guidance in relation to any of the subjects mentioned please contact your line manager.)

Our Draws:

We encourage our service users and their family members to give us feedback about the service we provide, this allows us to say thank you for a job well done!  Community staff who receive a compliment are entered into a draw with a chance of winning a prize of a £25 shopping voucher (there’s a voucher for WarrenCare services and another for TLC Homecare services). Service users who provide the compliments in respect of those drawn also receive a £25 voucher, as a thank you for taking the time to let us have their feedback.  

This time we’ve doubled the number of draw winners up, enabling double the amount of people to receive a voucher, please read on for details of winners: 

From TLC services:

  • Isabella Parkin (TLC Barnsley), in respect of excellent feedback received from a social worker in respect of a particular service user.
  • Draw winner is from Town & Local Care in relation to a fabulous compliment received from a service user saying he is very caring and always goes that extra mile. Recipients name will be published next time once publishing consent is received.

From WarrenCare services:

  • Linda Melia, upon a fabulous compliment received from the daughter of one of our service users.
  • Lynn Heitman (Specialist Support), in relation to a fabulous compliment received from a service user.

In addition, we hold a draw for office based staff, these run quarterly in line with community staff draws and give our staff and service users the opportunity to pass on their thanks to office based staff too.  Everyone receiving a compliment goes into a draw with a chance to win a £25 shopping voucher and again we’ve doubled the number of vouchers won this time.

This time’s winners are:

  • Sally Denton, Town & Local Care, upon receipt of a huge ‘thankyou’ from a staff member.
  • Tracy Hargreaves from TLC Barnsley, who received a lovely compliment from a service user’s family.
  • Kerry Hardy from WarrenCare services. Kerry received a lovely compliment from a social worker.
  • Jane Lawton from the specialist support team at WarrenCare, in respect of a compliment received from a service user.

Pictured is Carol Booker of TLC Barnsley, receiving her voucher last time.

‘Thankyous’ & Compliments (cont):  

We want to recognise everyone who has received a well-earned compliment for all of their commitment and hard work, in view of this we usually include names of everyone who has received these in our newsletter.  However, on this occasion, due to the Data Protection Act and GDPR requirements, we are unable to include everyone’s name this time (as we don’t have individual permissions).  We still want to send a massive ‘THANKYOU’ and say ‘WELL DONE’, to everyone who has received some fantastic feedback throughout the last few months and apologise for not being able to include everyone’s name as usual.  We are currently looking into ways of ensuring we have permissions from all staff who are happy to be included within future editions.  Thanks again to everyone concerned, we’ve received some lovely comments and compliments over the last few months.

Facebook Competition...

Earlier in the year we held a competition for liking and sharing our Facebook posts and the winner of a £50 shopping voucher, in the corresponding draw, was Suzie Johnson from our WarrenCare service in Sefton, Merseyside (pictured left), well done Suzie and thanks for taking part!

Recommend a Friend and Receive £250!

Do you know any fellow Care Workers, friends or family who may be interested in a career in care?

If so and you are a current staff member, please complete a form (available from your local office or contact your EEO and we will post one out) and pass it in to the HR department.  Alternatively the applicant can tell us when they apply and at their interview that you recommended them, all recommendations must be stated up front for you to qualify.

Once the person recommended has completed their probationary period you will receive £250 directly into your wages (see form for full details & T&C’s)

There is no limit on how many friends you can recommend.

Seasonal Update:                                                        

Throughout December and the Christmas period we join in and have lots of festive activities going on, there’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’, for which we trim up the offices and don our woolly attire to help raise much needed funds in aid of ‘Save the Children’.  There’s also our service user ‘Christmas Wish List’, when our care and support workers nominate service users to receive presents and our little elves go out delivering them before Christmas Eve... We’re taking lots of photographs again this year, please check out the overview in our next newsletter as well as our Facebook pages too, why not take a look and let us know what you think!

All our best wishes for 2019 from the Optimo Group of Companies!

If anyone would like to enquire about an extra helping hand…

If you think you or someone you know may benefit from an extra helping hand and you’d like to have a friendly chat and discuss what’s available, please call us on your local office number (see front cover of your care file or check out our websites (or Facebook) for our contact details).  We can then, if you wish, look at tailoring a care package (or just a couple of extra calls), to suit your individual needs and we’ll be able to give you a quote to help you make an informed decision.

We are able to offer help with:  Personal Care, Meal Preparation, Medication Assistance, Home Respite/sitting service whilst family go out, assisting service users to go out, shopping, domestic help, as well as much more...Please note, we can set up services for new clients or simply add a couple of extra calls to someone’s existing care package if they already receive care services from us.  If you’re interested, do give us a call, we will do our very best to try and help.

Congratulations, Good Luck & Best Wishes! 

Congratulations to Margaret Burztyn of TLC Barnsley upon her 70th birthday earlier in the year.  Margaret was with TLC for some 18 years and said when she reached this milestone birthday, she would ‘hang up her uniform and retire’.  Congratulations and all our best wishes Margaret, we wish you a long and happy retirement and are sorry to lose such a loyal, reliable and hardworking member of our team!  See Margaret pictured with TLC members below:

Welcome to everyone who’s joined us from Allied Healthcare and Westminster Homecare over recent months.  We wish you a long and successful career with the Optimo Group of companies.

A warm welcome also goes to:

Esther Njoki, Care Coordinator – TLC Doncaster

Michelle Dickinson & Stephanie Hall, Care Coordinators - Town & Local Care

Good luck and very best wishes to all!

 

Congratulations to Rebecca Panting from WarrenCare and her partner Alex upon the birth of their new baby boy.  Baby Issac weighed in at 7lb 9oz on 16th November.

Good Luck goes to:

Sara Fairhurst (TLC Barnsley), in her new position of ECM Administrator.

Gemma Hirst (also of TLC Barnsley) in her position of Finance Administrator.

Becky Hinchcliffe of Town & Local care upon her new role as Care Coordinator.

Leanne Heward, upon her transfer to TLC Wakefield as coordinator of the Wakefield service.

Well Done Everyone!!

Our very best wishes also go to Carrie Wilkinson of TLC Rotherham and her partner Dave upon the birth of their baby daughter Elsie on the 29th October.  Congratulations from everyone at TLC.

A BIG welcome goes to Nicola Wade, Group Finance Manager (based in Barnsley).

Congratulations upon joining the organisation, we wish you much luck for a long and prosperous career with the Optimo Care Group of companies...

Good luck, in your new career, goes to Gill Strayer (Registered Manager – TLC Doncaster) and Rebecca Carter (Registered Manager – TLC Sheffield). Welcome to the Optimo Group of companies, we send our very best wishes to both of you.
Welcome to Beth Egan, Care Coordinator WarrenCare. Good luck in your new job!

Congratulations Becky Hinchliffe, upon celebrating your 40th birthday in October. Best wishes from all at Town & Local Care!                                             

Congratulations to Muriel Gillott of TLC Sheffield upon celebrating her 100th birthday recently.  Muriel held an ‘open house’ event to raise money for local cancer charities, Muriel is pictured with care worker Danny Holmes below:

We hope you had a lovely day Muriel!

 

                                                   

                                                                

Contact

WarrenCare Ltd
Essex House
Middle Unit 2
Bridle Road
Bootle
L30 4UE
[Map and directions] 

 

Tel: 0151 9241999
Fax: 0151 9321999

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