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Date: January 26, 2021
Despite these challenging times, Bridgewater Home Care are incredibly grateful to have found plenty of reasons to celebrate throughout 2020 and be hopeful in 2021. During 2020, we have all pulled together in incredible new ways to make the lives of our clients better.
After such a difficult year for everyone and for our key workers at Bridgewater Home Care caring for vulnerable people in their own homes, we could not have been more delighted and proud to win the “EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR” award at the virtual North West Business Awards 2020/21.
The North West Business Awards 2020/21 was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and after numerous attempts to rearrange the event it was eventually held online on 18th December 2020. The Awards process and especially the in-depth interview brought to light what Bridgewater Home Care are doing well and the different approaches adopted to create an excellent working environment for employees with great opportunities for professional development and career advancement.
Bridgewater Home Care was founded in 2010 by Phil Eckersley and celebrated a decade in the home care business in 2020. Phil formed Bridgewater Home Care after personal experiences of care and his own desire to make a difference in the local community with the values of Quality, Reliability and Trust at its core.
Phil commented, “I am thrilled that Bridgewater Home Care has received the Employer of the Year award at the North West Business Awards. There was some really tough competition for this prestigious award with 5 finalists in total. This win certainly provided a well-deserved pat on the back at the end of an extremely hard year for our amazing team, it also gives confidence to our existing and prospective clients around the quality of care that we deliver and the huge investments we make in staff training and their well-being. “
On being announced as the winners of the Employer of the Year Award 2020/21, the North West Business Awards judges made some fantastic comments about the company, stating that Bridgewater Home Care are “putting the heart into what is a very tough industry for people to work in, the passion of the staff and passion of the team was so clear and evident…getting the motivation right, getting the staff values right and looking at how they could progress their staff and massive examples of how staff had moved on and progressed, gained new qualifications, people who came in as junior members of staff who are now leadership team…what they had done was fantastic, it was brilliant to see, it was truly an incredibly competitive award and congratulations to Bridgewater Home Care“.
Looking back on 2020 Bridgewater Home Care believes it is more important than ever to support the people they employ and for their home care clients to feel supported, connected and part of the Bridgewater family.
The top highlights for Bridgewater Home Care in 2020 included:
Staff well-being remained our top priority
We are 100% committed to ensuring staff wellbeing and a positive work environment for the entire team. Simply put, our employees ARE our business and are the reason for our success. We invest considerably in their training and welfare, providing both personal and professional support through a variety of means to ensure that all employees feel valued, respected, and secure.
At a time when isolation, worry and poor mental health for many have increased – it has been more important than ever to support our teams and for our clients to feel supported, connected and part of the Bridgewater family. Our award-winning Training Manager has delivered a new Resilience Training course to Managers in 2020; essential for the well-being of staff and managing stress. We work closely with local colleges to run short courses for staff. Our Brand and Compliance Manager has become our first mental health first aider.
Being a part of something that can positively transform a person’s life in a time of need fills everyone at Bridgewater Home Care with pride and passion. We believe passionately that by treating our carers as a trusted family we can empower them to treat our clients with the same warmth and respect. The team are more likely to actively engage with us if they feel we foster an inclusive culture.
Continued investment in technology
As a business, we have been making huge investments and transitioning to become paperless through utilising software programmes, cloud filing and storage systems, online care management systems, mobile apps and reducing as much physical paperwork as possible.
Throughout this pandemic, we have worked with Skills for Care to devise a new online training system and streamline a much faster DBS (criminal record check) process to ensure we have enough staff available to support our clients.
All care plans, medication records, client and employee data are stored online along with all operations being accessible from any PC, laptop, or mobile phone after our investments in collaborative and cloud technology. Care never stops so we have developed a system to enable the business to always be responsive to the needs of our clients and carers.
We want to see Bridgewater Home Care being the most tech-driven care provider in the marketplace and achieve continuous improvements to the quality of care we deliver.
An increase in demand for home care services is likely to be supplemented by increased usage of more bespoke technology. Our goal is to have a completely paperless business where regulatory standards permit.
Successful staff recruitment and retention
We have always set our starting rates of pay above the living wage and market-leading in comparison to other providers. All employees are given a minimum of 28 days holiday pay each year and are encouraged to take time off when needed. We have been able to offer an increase in pay to our carers to £10 per hour since 1st April 2020, although this assists with better staff retention and recruitment we also recognise that carers should not just be rewarded financially and we continue to innovate with our training, benefits, and a transparent career ladder.
We have seen a marked trend of individuals applying from industries that have suffered massive redundancies during the pandemic – such as travel, hospitality, and retail. We have been able to help them realise their skills are transferable to a long-term career in social care and make the transition smoothly through our comprehensive training programme. A bespoke, accredited, care certificate was rolled out to carers in 2019 creating a new e-learning programme. We have a dedicated training room and have invested in an online portal for staff which has been invaluable throughout the pandemic, offering carers a safe and flexible approach to learning. This has greatly enhanced our talent pool.
Quickly adapting to new ways of working
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Bridgewater Home Care embraced remote working; we had already set up the ability to work remotely in 2019 and were able to conduct all interviews and training through webcam and file sharing on this software. Whether the new recruit has never worked in social care before or has previous experience we provide one to one support in order to provide the most suitable training.
We have embraced more remote meetings with office staff which has reduced time spent on the roads, associated costs, and our carbon footprint.
We recently adopted superior care management software that allows carers to log in and access information on a real-time basis using a mobile app. Carers electronically log in and out at a client’s home allowing us to monitor the lengths of visits, chase up any visit delays and ensure our staff are safe. We can update the care plan ensuring our care teams are notified of medication and service changes in real-time.
Staff have adapted quickly to new ways of working, they can see the benefits and wish to continue running the business in this more efficient way.
Supporting our local communities
Bridgewater Home Care wrote to the children of all our staff and ran competitions to make them feel part of the Bridgewater family at the start of the pandemic.
Throughout 2020 we supported our staff to fundraise for charities, as this promotes wellbeing in giving back to others; charities included the Alzheimer’s Society, MacMillan Cancer Support and many more. We also supported local partners with some of their initiatives through social media and virtual coffee mornings, such as The Lewy Body Society with their “Dotty Days” initiative to raise awareness of people affected by Lewy Body’s dementia.
Our teams embraced the spirit of VE Day 75, making and delivering afternoon teas to our clients and carers, decorating the office, bringing everyone together in the community.
Staff also showed appreciation to the local schools supporting our keyworkers during the pandemic by making and delivering goody bags to them.
We also had a fabulous time celebrating Elf Day and raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Keeping our clients safe at home
It is more important than ever during this new lockdown period to ensure that our clients, many of whom are self-isolating at home, receive exceptional care and support from the carers at Bridgewater Home Care. We know from the feedback we receive from our clients and their loved ones that a visit from one of their regular carers can really benefit their mental health and wellbeing.
We follow government guidelines on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to ensure your loved ones are as comfortable and safe as possible. Our carers receive training which includes infection prevention, handwashing and the safe use and removal of required PPE. They will also clean any surfaces that they have touched during the care visit. Bridgewater Home Care regularly carry out Covid tests for our carers and we have been and will be supporting our staff and clients to access the vaccination in a timely manner.
Contact our friendly Bridgewater Home Care team if you would like to know more about the award-winning care at home services that we provide or our current job opportunities on 01942 215 888.