Learning & Development Blog by Mike Lakins - August 2018

It’s been a very busy month with Learning and Development...at Springhill Care Home we had a visit from the University of Central Lancashire addressing those employees who were making a decision about the Associate Nurse pathway or the Assistant Practitioner pathway - it was well attended and our employees now have a more in-depth understanding of what each pathway entails so they are able to make an informed decision.

Enrolment for the Assistant Practitioner course starts in September 2018 and over the next few months you will be able to meet them through a new series of articles in our monthly care group newsletter.

I have recently spent quality time at our sister nursing home Riversway in Bristol, looking at the Learning and Development function in detail, and working closely alongside Natalia (Learning & Development Coordinator).  I feel we have achieved a lot and that we have had the opportunity to review our business processes and implement some new ideas.

Refresher training across the Group is essential - the Learning & Development team work tirelessly to ensure that quality training is available for all employees to attend.  As we are aware, mandatory and refresher training is a legal requirement and in supporting the L&D departments at each site, it is crucial in maintaining fully qualified and skilled employees at each of our services.

I am always looking at ways to improve how we, as a L & D team work together and after consultation we will be introducing a weekly telecast/facetime slot - I believe this will provide an opportunity for my team to share best practice, ideas and any changes in legislation, I will also be discussing and implementing new strategies across the group with them... I envisage that this weekly meeting will help address communication and promote team cohesion.

Sophie McIntosh our new Learning & Development Coordinator at Springhill Care Home, Accrington, commenced her new role last week, I’m sure you will join me in welcoming her to the Group. Sophie brings a portfolio of experience with her and I’m sure she will introduce herself in due course.

There are many new initiatives and ideas being introduced and developed across the Springhill Care Group at the moment, it’s an exciting and positive time to be part of this innovative organisation.


Mike Lakins

Head of Learning and Development



My Admiral Nurse Journey - Care Fit for VIPS

One of the audits that was undertaken to determine the baseline of the dementia care environment, prior to training our dementia champions in Riversway Nursing Home and Birch Green Care Home was the Care Fit for VIPS toolkit.


This was developed by Dawn Brooker at the Association for Dementia Studies, Worcester University.


Click HERE to view a short introductory video which explains further.




It is based on her VIPS framework where:


V - Values people. Do my actions show that I respect, value and honour this person?


I - Individual needs. Am I treating this person as a unique individual?


P - Perspective of the person. Am I making a serious attempt to see my actions from the perspective of the person I am trying to help?


S - Supportive social psychology. Do my actions help this person to feel socially confident and that they are not alone?


The toolkit focuses on a 3 way approach;


  1. Self-assessment tool
  2. Resources
  3. An improvement cycle


In order to complete the self assessment tool, 216 questions are asked over the 4 sections of Values, Individual, Perspective and Social, asking if the practitioner strongly agrees; agrees; disagrees; strongly disagrees or is unsure.


An outline was drawn up and then with the help of Laura, the Research and Evaluation officer at Dementia UK a graph was developed. In Riversway another audit was completed six months later and plotted on to the graph; a further audit was conducted in April 2018.


The graphs show an overall move towards agree and strongly agree. There was only one move backwards which was related to the new GDPR regulations.


A lot of the improvements within the dementia care environment at Riversway can be shown to be related to upskilling carers and nurses with a higher level of dementia care awareness being embedded within the nursing home.


Further improvements will be addressed within the Plan, Do, Study, Act improvement cycle which was drawn up following this and another audit will be carried out in October 2018.


By Jakki Whitehead

Admiral Nurse, Riversway Nursing Home 



Sustainability and growth of our workforce by Virginia Perkins - July 2018

Focusing on the sustainability and growth of the workforce is a key part of my role, in particular, to ensure that we have viable staffing levels in place at each of our homes that are equipped with the essential skills to deliver outstanding care and support.

Attracting staff to work in our business is usually conducted via the more traditional recruitment methods and practices of advertising through our company website; job fairs; social media and recruitment websites.

This week, I attended a forum in Westminster which was supported by the Government Equalities Office to support and encourage businesses like ours to increase opportunities for people who have taken an extended career break, often to care for children and other family members. There are currently 2.1 million people out of the labour market caring for family members, but now have an interest in returning to work. This is an untapped pool of talent that we could support back to work through a Returner Programme. This initiative is a targeted recruitment programme aimed at people who have been out of work, typically for more than two years.

With a projected shortfall of nursing and care staff for future years which will ultimately make it more challenging to recruit, a Returner Programme is a great way to tackle the skills shortage as it creates access to an extra pool of people who already have the right skills, or could easily be trained through our learning and development provision.

Not only can a Returner Programme be cost effective, it can also have a positive impact on our company profile, clearly promoting Springhill Care Group’s support for parents and carers in the workplace. Flexibility is high on the agenda for these people, as indeed it is for our existing workforce, so key factors of where people need to work; when people need to work and how much people need to work have to be considered.

To build a successful Returner Programme will take time but this is something that I see as fundamental to achieving and developing an outstanding, responsive and diverse workforce.



Virginia Perkins

Associate Director

People and Organisational Development



Learning & Development Blog by Mike Lakins - July 2018

First and foremost this month I’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who sent good wishes to me following my recent promotion to Head of Learning & Development for the Springhill Care Group. I’m really looking forward to the challenge and to the opportunity of sharing and rolling out some new ideas.

I would like to welcome Sophie McIntosh to the Learning and Development Team; Sophie has been appointed as the new Learning & Development Co-ordinator at Springhill Care Home. Sophie is scheduled to start mid-July and brings with her a lot of health & social care experience having worked with us in a training provider capacity for a number of years – welcome aboard Sophie.

It’s been an interesting month as I have been involved in a number of exciting meetings and last week I was invited to attend the Hyndburn Business Awards in Accrington. Springhill Care Home was one of the finalists; we didn’t win overall in our category for Large Business, but having reached that final stage was an achievement in itself.

We are closer to announcing the date when the Associate Nurse/ Assistant Practitioner courses start; its long awaited and I would like to thank the staff involved for their patience – we continue to work closely with the University of Central Lancashire to ensure that when we roll out the Nurse Pathway it proves to be a seamless transition from Assistant Practitioner to enrolment onto the Nurse Apprenticeship.

I am planning to roll out an End of Life level 2 qualification around August and have had a good response from staff wanting to complete this. This qualification will be completed as a distance learning module and will provide additional underpinning knowledge to all staff improving and developing them through training and mentoring.

Jakki Whitehead, our Admiral Nurse at Riversway Nursing Home in Bristol spent time with me during this month too; it was a pleasure to meet up with her and Jakki shared some fantastic information around the subject of dementia that she has developed.  We are planning to roll out her bespoke dementia training in the next couple of months to the staff here at Springhill Care Home, Accrington.

Lowry training have signed up a number staff this month to complete their level 2 and level 3 Diplomas in Health and Social Care – and progress is steadily being made.
At Springhill we understand that the learning and development of staff is crucial and the opportunities that we offer everyone to improve and develop are plentiful; if anyone has any training requirements, please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss them further.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone at our other services and building on our exciting learning and development plans for the continued success of our organisation.


Mike Lakins

Head of Learning and Development




New blog by Matt Nolan - My internship at Springhill Care

This is my first ever blog, and I would like to start by saying a huge thank you to everyone in the Springhill family – you have all made me so welcome and I am learning so much!

The first two months of my internship have literally flown by and provided a thoroughly exciting learning curve, as I become more familiar with the wider Springhill family and the structures and processes involved in operating high-quality care homes and a successful business. It is a fantastic opportunity for me, to work with such incredibly dedicated and talented people across the group, which I both appreciate and enjoy very much indeed.

So far, I have spent the majority of my time shadowing and learning from the Leadership Teams at: Springhill Care Home; Birch Green Care Home and Head Office, whether that has been learning how we ensure good quality and compliance, right through to the methods we employ to help people remain connected and stay in touch with their loved ones, through for example, use of our social media platforms.

I have been very fortunate to gain hands on experience at the front line of care and support, from a young age, during school and university holiday periods, as part of both the Health Care and Lifestyle teams. This provided invaluable experience and insight into the front-line delivery of care and support and a greater understanding of the day to day challenges. This experience also provided me with a platform for further learning and development, including with this internship.

During my first couple of months, it has been interesting to learn how some of the other functions of the business operate, and better understand how everything links together to provide what is clearly a very well developed and effective leadership and management system for the organisation. Many different functions and different responsibilities are of course necessary to achieve this, but what is abundantly clear, right across the group, is how each colleague shares and practices the company values, which are at the heart of everything everyone does, with a dedicated focus and aim of providing outstanding, person-centred, quality care and support.

Recognising the importance of ‘culture’, Springhill places its values at the heart of everything it does; from recognising its workforce as its most valued asset, through to a shared commitment to continuous learning and improvement. This is easy to say, but what Springhill clearly does differently, is they make it happen consistently across the whole organisation! This in my view is the key to the success of Springhill; it makes for a wonderful environment to make a positive difference to peoples’ lives and for people to develop – both as individuals and as part of a team – which is tremendously rewarding to be a part of.

In the next few months I am very much looking forward to gaining even more hands-on experience and insight, which I know will assist me greatly in my forthcoming Master’s degree programme.

Whilst I am excited at the prospect, I already know I will miss you all when I have to leave at the end of the summer!


Matt Nolan
Management Intern



Awards & Accreditations




Contact Us

Springhill Care Group Limited
Head Office
11 Cannon Street
Accrington, Lancashire
United Kingdom BB5 1NJ

Tel: 01254 304500
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call Us: 01254 304500

JOIN US follow us on facebook follow us on twitter connect with us on linked in  

Opt-in to receive our care group newsletter & communications

Cookies help us improve our website and make them more user friendly, so you get a better experience. For the full details please read our Cookie Policy. You ok with our use of cookies? To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

  I accept cookies from this site.
EU Cookie Directive plugin by www.channeldigital.co.uk