Equality and Diversity - HR Blog by Virginia Perkins

We hear so much about equality and diversity and why it is important and should be placed at the heart of an organisation.

In simple terms, our approach and the way we embrace equality and diversity at Springhill Care Group ensures all our employees and prospective candidates have access to the same opportunities and the same fair treatment as everybody else.

Our commitment to equality means we ensure everyone in our setting has equal opportunities, regardless of their abilities, their background or their lifestyle.

Diversity means we appreciate the differences between people and treating people’s values, beliefs, cultures and lifestyles with respect.

Due to the company’s approach in the way it actively promotes equality and diversity through its inclusive recruitment process, induction programme, policies and procedures, decision making and designated equality and diversity committee, we are hopeful that we will thrive and people of all backgrounds can come together and achieve success.

Our business is already recognised as a Disability Confident Employer which helps us make the most of the opportunities provided by employing and supporting disabled people.

In addition, we refer to Stonewall, a charity that empowers lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals to ensure they feel accepted without exception in the workplace; and where advice on our policies to ensure they are LGBT inclusive can be sought.

Our approach to equality and diversity is further extended to the residents in our care which are recognised as essential components of health and social care where we ensure that the services provided to vulnerable people are fair and accessible to everyone. We ensure staff and residents are treated as equals, that people get the dignity and respect they deserve and that their differences are celebrated.

Our approach to this important area underpins our ambition to achieving our vision of becoming a service provider and employer of choice in the communities in which we serve.


by Virginia Perkins

Associate Director of People and Organisational  Development 



The Teaching Care Homes Programme - Latest blog by Mike Lakins

The focus of my latest blog in this issue of our newsletter, is our successful application with Teaching Care Homes: Leading and facilitating cross-sector collaborations initiative.

So what exactly is it?

It is an initiative that started as a pilot a couple of years ago, Care England aimed to develop centres of excellence in person centred care, funded by the Department of Health.


The pilot wanted to ensure primarily that the experience of the residents and relatives was truly person centred, meeting all their needs and providing care that was compassionate and an environment that was safe.


The pilot recognised that staff working in the care sector needed to feel valued, listened to and had meaningful and positive learning opportunities to discuss ideas, innovative ways of working and took responsibility for their own development and care practice.


The programme was so successful that Care England managed to secure additional funding from the Burdett Trust for Nursing and in partnership with the Foundation of Nursing Studies (FoNS), will develop and support a further five care homes in the period covering 2019/2020 of which Riversway Care home, part of the Springhill Care Group, was selected following a rigorous application process.

Our collaboration with Dementia UK and the Clinical Commissioning Group will not only enhance our service provision through sharing knowledge and shared understanding, but will provide a foundation on which to develop our service further – building on our extensive knowledge base and shaping our future through innovative ways of working with two major stakeholders.

Development is key to future success and the Springhill Care Group prides itself on accessing transformational opportunities – this is an exciting project which will potentially shape care experiences across the Group.


by Mike Lakins

Head of Learning and Development




Raising dementia awareness - Blog by Jakki Whitehead

At Riversway Nursing Home we are holding a Raising Dementia Awareness month in March 2019.

All of our staff going through induction will start having basic Dementia Awareness training, this will be supplemented by Level 1* Dementia Awareness training for all staff within the first year.

In March we will start to train the nurses, managers and other key people within the home in Level 2* Dementia Awareness training. This will entail looking at:

  • the differences between depression, delirium and dementia;
  • bio-psycho-social models for good dementia care;
  • pain and pain tools
  • medication and poly-pharmacy
  • legislation and other drivers
  • meaning of Distressed Reaction and treatment strategies
  • person-centred care and relationship-centred care practices
  • the importance of friends and family
  • meaningful activity

Some of you might recognise that these subjects are covered in Springhill Care’s Dementia Champion training. This is indeed so, but the Dementia Champions cover them in more depth and also do a presentation of a case study about working with a resident who has dementia and their family.

After the level 2 training has taken place the 3 new team leaders at Riversway, Sian, Kiri and Megan, and other skilled carers within Riversway will be undertaking the new Dementia Champion training.

We are also starting to offer Dementia Awareness sessions for our outside community contacts such as volunteers at Riversway as well as offering this to local shops and churches.

Other projects happening during Riversway’s Raising Dementia Awareness month will be our regular Forget Me Not Cafe which will run alongside Dementia UK’s fundraiser Time for a Cuppa. Come and join us to raise money for this great charity.


by Jakki Whitehead, Admiral Nurse


* According to Department of Health (2015). Dementia Core Skills Education and Training Framework.



Bristol Memory Cafe Celebration - Blog by Jakki Whitehead, Admiral Nurse

Towards the end of last year Tony Hall of The Bristol Dementia Action Alliance (BDAA) invited Marilisa and I to the Bristol Memory Cafe Celebration to give a presentation about Riversway’s Forget Me Not Cafe along with seven other Memory Cafe coordinators in Bristol including;

*Happy Days Memory Cafe run by Tony of the BDAA

*Alive run by Isobel Jones

*The Holy Trinity Cafe run by Liz Leaman

*Bristol Royal Infirmary and Alzheimer’s Society’s memory cafes were also represented.

It was interesting to hear the variety of approaches used in the different settings but what was really evident was the enthusiasm of all those involved and the passion for improving the lives of those with dementia and their carers.

This presentation coincided with Laura, a Research and Evaluation Officer at Dementia UK, producing a poster about an Admiral Nurse and The Forget Me Not Cafe at Riversway.

Marilisa and I started by introducing ourselves and Riversway Nursing Home; we explained that times had changed and that residents who had been with us for 10-15 years had passed on.


We recognised that we needed a new forum to get to know the new residents and their relatives as quickly as possible and decided to use the recognised form 'This is Me' as well as a memory cafe as a basis to develop our knowledge of the residents.


The main aims of the Forget Me Not  Cafe were to;

  • Help residents, relatives and staff to develop relationships and to get to know some of their life story in a relatively short period of time. The ‘This is Me’ maybe filled in with resident and relatives.
  • Facilitate access for residents and relatives to expert support from an Admiral Nurse.
  • Create an avenue for families to discuss shared challenges.  One relative commented that he had more support at the cafe in 5 minutes than he had received in 3 months in a hospital. 
  • Facilitate an inclusive environment in the home between residents with cognitive impairment and those without.  A resident who had a stroke and very little cognitive impairment found that she felt much more useful when she was able to help residents who had more of a communication problem than she did. 

We spoke about the main rule which was that once a month the kitchen provides us with really scrumptious cakes!

A choice from Victoria Sponge, Carrot, Coffee and Walnut, Lemon Drizzle, Blueberry, Chocolate, Red Velvet, Danish Pastries, fruit cakes and a variety of biscuits..... Catering for most diets; normal, gluten free, low sugar, vegan.

We encourage all residents, relatives, friends, staff and relatives of people who have passed on, to attend.


So why cake?

  • To promote an inclusive, happy and enjoyable atmosphere within the home.
  • To promote the importance of decision making amongst all residents - which cake? Most of our residents still retain the ability to choose which cake, even in advanced dementia.
  • To provide textures and flavours for sensory stimulation and reminiscence. It is a joy to see a resident who have been very ill and have a very complicated eating regime brightening with delight when they have cake and gingerbread men: ‘those gingerbread men brought back memories of my childhood’.
  • Promotes involvement of all different parts of the staff team and they are starting to own the process, meaning that they feel involved and thus involve residents and relatives, staff come to join in for a while and take cake back to residents in their rooms.

This leads to reminiscence, activities, sensory stimulation; Life stories being shared and recorded; residents, families, friends and staff getting to know each other in a relaxed environment; relationships being built throughout the home, with residents, relatives and staff; improved wellbeing with residents and relatives feeling supported by staff who have a good level of experience. One resident really responded to me giving him cake, he started to realise that I did care for him and that things could improve in some ways; this was a time when everything in his life seemed dark.


What Happens?  

We can have visiting numbers from 15-32 (a squeeze!), Residents are the main attenders, the average number of relatives attending is about 7 but sometimes more.

We often just chat but also run activities such as singing, poetry reading or choosing pictures for decorating the home.

We might put all sorts of tactile items on the tables, we have a volunteer who brings Twiddle Muffs, Twiddle Aprons and crocheted mats from her craft group, they are always popular we put out other reminiscence stuff as well.

Comments from the relatives about the cafe are generally positive. A relative in a Focus Group commented that ‘The families find confidence in the fact that the Admiral Nurse holds the cafes…so she is available to them and they have confidence in her and talk about the conditions.’ Another helper commented that he had ‘never seen so much cake be eaten by so many people in so little time and then for them to go on and eat their lunch too!’



Finally, it is great to see so many people getting so much out of the Forget Me Not Cafe but it is also safe to say that Marilisa and I enjoy it too.




Hello 2019 - Latest blog by Virginia Perkins

As we welcome 2019, many of us are in the frame of mind to start the new year with a new project or initiative to improve or add further value, and we are no different within our company.

The year of 2018 was a busy year consolidating our working practices and drawing on our experiences of projects so that learning can be reinforced. It has been a huge team effort working immensely hard to recruit a virtually full staff team so that our residents can enjoy and receive the best care, and deservedly so. The company’s fantastic performance and success is testament to the skills and dedication of the workforce, and as we move into the new year, it is important that we focus on retaining our valued employees to continue building on the success already experienced.

One of the government’s main priorities for the health and social care system is quite understandably the workforce because without a dedicated and motivated staff team we simply wouldn’t be able to operate. Only when we sustain a viable and engaged workforce can we truly achieve our full potential. That’s why staff retention will continue to be a focus for the Springhill Care Group as we embark on the exciting year of 2019.

Our retention strategies are crucial because they help to create a positive work environment and strengthen our employees commitment across all disciplines in the company. We continue to develop our leaders; roll out coaching sessions focussed on our unique high performing culture; conduct regular meetings with new starters; develop our frontline leaders; offer fantastic career pathways; promote staff into key appointments and strengthen our communication channels across the workforce to promote a continuous dialogue.

We look forward to developing and retaining our workforce on the existing foundations we have created, to ensure we continue on our trajectory to being recognised as a leader in the care sector.


by Virginia Perkins 

Associate Director of People and Organisational Development 



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

Tel: 01254 304500
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