“I always knew I would end up back here” says newly qualified nurse Laura

Laura Collins, 26, has achieved her dream of becoming a registered nurse and has returned to our home to care for the residents who inspired her ambition.

Laura initially worked at Barrowhill Hall as a care assistant to fund her studies in teaching but whilst working for us care captured her heart and she decided to retrain. Having just completed a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Nursing at Derby University she is now back with us at Barrowhill Hall!

“There’s something about Barrowhill Hall, that draws you back,” she explains. “It’s hard to say exactly what it is, but it’s like a second home to me. I always knew I would end up back here.”

Of her new role Laura says, “I love being a mental health nurse! I love having more responsibility, looking after people physically and mentally and being able to apply what I’ve learnt on my course to my work. We trained a lot in dementia care and my dissertation was about the benefits of non-medical interventions in supporting people living with dementia.”

“I love how Barrowhill Hall incorporates a lot of therapy activity such as pet therapy, singing and entertainment for the residents. You can see first-hand how it benefits them. Their mood lifts, they’ll remember song lyrics and therapies can relax and calm them too.

At age 19, she was set on a career in education and began working at our home to fund her teaching degree. Laura says, “It’s probably quite an unusual role to go into whilst studying at uni, but one of my friends was working there and told me there was a job going.

“I didn’t know what to expect or if I was going to like it, but I settled in quickly with all the support and training. I loved the feeling I got when I went home and I knew I’d given my all to look after someone.”

Over the next two years Laura had finished her education degree, taken a full-time role at our home and progressed to the role of senior carer. It was during this time she realised teaching was no longer for her. “Working as a senior carer made me realise what I was meant to do in life,” She explains, “I knew that instead of going back to do a final year of education training I wanted to train to become a nurse.”

Laura had already completed her pharmacy training and a Level 2 Safe Medication course on the job and was writing personalised care plans for residents in Churnet Lodge, our specialist household for people living with young onset dementia.

Clinical lead nurse, Sky Moyo, is amongst those pleased to welcome Laura back.

“Laura is an asset to our team and an inspiration to others, we’re delighted to have her with us again. We always encourage our team to progress and she’s an incredible example of how it’s possible to build a solid career within the care sector.

“The staff are the heartbeat of a care home and Laura has a lot to offer with her mental health training and her interest in holistic therapies for residents living with dementia. We know our residents will benefit from her return to us and we are all excited to see what she brings to her new role.”

When reflecting on the care sector Laura knows she can make a difference especially with end of life and palliative care.

“It’s emotionally challenging at times but it’s rewarding to know that you have made someone’s last days as nice and as comfortable as possible. Even though it can be a hard thing to do, it’s really rewarding to give someone a nice end to their life. That’s important.

“Day to day I always feel like I’m looking after multiple grans and grandads. I never want to rush around from room to room, I like to spend time with each resident and I love seeing them smile. I just enjoy helping people and I 100% recommend care as a career!”



Care is a rewarding career say our young team members

Abigail Hudson, 21, Kirstyn Williams, 20 and 19 year old Chloe Beardmore, are all healthcare assistants here at Barrowhill Hall.

Abigail, from Rocester, has been working in the care sector since she was 18 and has been a private carer and a community carer in Staffordshire before she began working at Barrowhill Hall. She says,

“I enjoyed community work but the travel was a lot. I was driving everywhere from Kings Bromley to Tamworth and all the travel was affecting my mental health.

“My boyfriend’s mum and sister work at Barrowhill Hall and they encouraged me to apply for a job here. I would definitely recommend care work to other young people. The best part of the job is the satisfaction you get from helping others.”

Kirstyn, from Tean, is currently in her second year of a Psychology degree at Keele University. And works part-time at the home. She wants to go and study medicine and says her role as a carer has taught her invaluable resident care skills.

“With the hands-on skills, I’ve learnt so much about resident care, more than I ever could learn from books. It’s an incredible experience. For me a huge part of the role is learning how to interact with different levels of resident care. All residents are completely different and what works for one doesn’t work for the other, we have to always tailor our care to the individual.

“I love meeting people. Meeting the families is a big part of the job and we have to work as a team otherwise nothing would get done!

“My favourite bit of the day though is seeing the residents in their happy element and the satisfaction you get from it.”

For Chloe, from Cheadle, it was her grandad, Ken, who motivated her to take on a role caring for and helping elderly residents.

“My grandad is my favourite person!,” she says. “He really inspired me to work in the care sector. Seeing the residents happy and giving them the care they need makes me happy. It’s such a rewarding job and it’s fun too; we are always doing all sorts of activities from painting the residents’ nails to drawing with them.

“You get really close relationships with the residents, we’re like a family.”

Care home manager, Dania Meadows, says, “

“It’s brilliant to see young people in care roles and we would love to have more on our team. I think there’s something in the bond they create with the residents, having had a more recent relationship with grandparents. Our residents certainly love them!

“I’m very committed to all the staff here and if they want to progress, we will help them. This doesn’t just have to be a job, it can be a career, there’s no end to where it could lead.”




Manager Matthew ‘chats’ over coffee

Readers of the Ashbourne News Telegraph will know a lot more about our manager, Matthew, after he appeared in the paper’s ‘Coffee Break’ section.

Matthew, who’s originally from Stafford, shared a little bit about his background and the legend behind Muddy Shoe day!

We learned about his extremely varied taste in music, from Bluegrass and folk to classical and heavy metal, and his love of food.

“The one thing I can never refuse is roast lamb!” he said.

Cutting from the Ashbourne News Telegraph featuring home manager, Matthew Whitfield
Manager Matthew shares a little about himself in the Ashbourne News Telegraph

He also shared how he came to work in the care sector.

“I went into this profession mainly because of Mum and how she always helped others,” Matthew said.  “She was a healthcare assistant at St George’s hospital in Stafford and she later cared for my dad.”

Matthew went on to train as a nurse, specialising in mental health.  He brings those skills to his role here and his passion now is to provide high quality care for people with dementia.

But he says he could do none of this without the support of his family.  As the youngest of four he is used to a busy household – and it’s a good job!

“I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Kelly, for nearly two years now,” he said.  “I’ve got five children – Stephanie who’s 24, Isaac, 21, Lily is 11, Grace who’s three and one year old Ron.

“Plus I’ve got a two year old grand-daughter, Ivy.  They are my world.”

Look out for more of our team in the coming weeks.