People often ask us how we keep our homes up to such a good standard of decoration and condition. This is a post to give you some insights into how important we think environment is to the care we give our Service Users. We strongly believe that light, spacious, attractive living spaces improve mood and wellbeing. Our maintenance team is trained and tasked with supporting us as a business to enhance and maintain our homes, so that our Service Users can enjoy our properties as HOMES rather than institutions.
This being said, our homes are busy places with many people living in them with different needs and behaviours and as such it can be a challenge to maintain them to the standard we expect – i.e. homely places, that look and feel comfortable…but don’t look like “care facilities”. This is where our fantastic maintenance team come in…
Over the years we have developed a comprehensive team – they are a great asset to us and skilled in a variety of trades such as plumbing, decorating, carpentry and plastering. Each member of the team is directly employed by us – we thoroughly induct and train them, so that we know that they are not only proficient in their particular trade, but also in operating within our specialised environment. They are methodically interviewed; CRB and reference checked; and have to complete all of our staff training so that they are competent in dealing with our Service Users professionally and in a way that does not place any stress on them.
We have found that having our own professional maintenance team has worked much better in upholding our commitment to enhancing Service Users’ lives – because it was difficult in the past to get the kind of contractors who were not only trained in their trade, but also sensitive to the kind of environment that they would work in, in our homes. External contractors (in our experience) simply did not have empathy nor the understanding of the impact that they could potentially have by merely being present in our homes as “strangers” (in our Service Users’ eyes).
When Service Users come to live with us – the maintenance team are on hand to make sure that the room is to tailored to the persons’ taste and needs. We encourage Service Users, families and social workers to meet with the maintenance team so that they make sure that all requests are fulfilled to their satisfaction. Our view is that this is going to be the Service User’s home and as such we strongly believe they should personalise it. All rooms are refreshed (painted and decorated into neutral tones) when people leave so that they are ready for the next person to put their stamp on it.
Within our responsibilities as the business and property owners we carry out regular environmental checks and all of our homes are refreshed as often as needed – which tends to be roughly once or twice a year, but on-going repairs are continual. Our Maintenance Manager, Paul Clarke, oversees the smooth running of the team and supervises them. He is an experienced builder who has worked for us for over 10 years and is invaluable when problems arise as he has experience of most eventualities and how to solve them.
Here are some facts for you:
- The property maintenance team is made up of 7 people (full and part-time employed)
- They have used over 2000 meters of pipe in The Mews building alone
- They use over 600 litres of paint per year
- The team drink approximately 600 litres of tea per month (as much as the paint they use!)
- They maintain 70 toilets
- We have trained 2 apprentices – pictured below (Danny Quigley who is now an NVQ qualified decorator and Rob Payne who is now an NVQ qualified plumber)
Part of the maintenance of our properties includes the gardens at each of the homes – for this we use Hayeswood Landscapes for our gardens. We have worked with them for years and have an agreement with them, with a clear timeline and landscaping rota – our gardens have never looked so good as when we decided to use Hayeswood team to look after our “green” needs to help make the gardens look at their best at all times. They are brilliant as they do some more heavier duty tasks like renewing fences in the winter when there aren’t as many general gardening needs to stay on top of. The team who carry out the work are fantastic and (crucially) it is always the same people so that there is continuity and familiarity for our Services Users and staff.
We are very pleased and definitely blessed with our maintenance team (property and grounds) – they have earned five stars in eyes year after year and we hope for many more years working together…towards the same goal: creating the kind of homes that Service Users are proud to call their own.