My 13th Anniversary!

So, yesterday was my 13th anniversary of Owning Valerie Manor – It was a busy day so I apologise for the delay in my thank you blog and summary of my 13 years! I have just posted a blog from my Mum and Dad who I think tell the story better than I do! – do also read Alan’s post from yesterday!

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for my cards, flowers and gifts – the card signed by all the staff and residents was so very special to read………….

I cannot quite believe I have had the privilege to own Valerie Manor now for 13 years!

My journey began at the age of 13 when I started to work in nursing homes and my love for the older generation grew. I decided that I wanted to be a ‘matron’ of a nursing home and in 1996 qualified as a nurse.

My Career took me on a journey in the NHS working on Surgical wards at Eastbourne District General and The East Surrey Hospital then working my way up to be a Ward Sister for General Surgery at Epsom Hospital. I then moved on to be a Matron for general medicine and elderly care within the hospital working across two sites (Epsom and St Helier). Although I loved nursing, I also enjoyed the business side of the NHS and soon became a General Manager managing over 300 staff with a substantial budget! My project planning skills developed and during this time was seconded to work with KPMG and lead on reducing length of stay on the wards within the hospital which I also enjoyed!

Sadly, my Nan on my Mums side and Grandad on my Dad’s side had to go into nursing homes and some of the things we saw greatly saddened us. My Nan had a stroke which led us to purchase the ‘jalopy’ which we now use for Valerie Manor. Nanna Doreen was wheelchair bound so this allowed us to take her out on trips with my Grandad Phil (Dad’s dad) and have them home for the day. The first Christmas following my Nan’s stroke we were determined to have the family together and arranged for a hospital bed, commode, hoist etc to be delivered to my Mum and Dads house where we all enjoyed a few days together before my Nan was admitted to a nursing home. My nan was in the dining room in her profiling bed and I slept in the lounge during the night! Sad but fond memories, I think this is where I get my ‘can do’ attitude from as a family we would always find a way round things even during difficult times.

When my Nan and Grandad passed away my Mum and Dad asked if I could do better, and they re-mortgaged our family home to allow me to purchase Valerie Manor. I wrote a Business Plan and 6 months later Valerie Manor; a 15 bedded residential care home became my home and my extended family. I lived on site for 11 years and during this time had the nursing wing built which completed in 2009!

13 years – what a whirlwind! I think 2020 has been the most challenging year but it has for us all in one way or another. 13 is however my lucky number!!!

My philosophy is for anyone in my care to be treated as I would expect a member of my family to be treated and I am so proud that we have the team we do led by Debs and Lucy to care for everyone in our care at Valerie Manor in this way and indeed over the 13 years.

Over the years we have made friends and remained close with relatives of residents who have sadly passed away and staff who have been at our side over the 13 years.

I would also like to thank the local community, as during 2020 everyone came together for Valerie Manor DIY SOS and provided the POD for us to allow safe visiting and more recently regular testing.

I also wanted to say a special thank you to the staff at Steyning Medical Practice for all their support over the years and to our friends at Worthing Hospital, a special mention to Rhia Evans and Wendy Hartley who have guided us through using their clinical expertise  to help keep residents safe and out of hospital.

I don’t know what we would do without Upper Beeding Pharmacy – Mike, Lindsay, Teyah, Annie and Heidi who provide exemplary medicine management for Valerie Manor.

Not forgetting Alan who used to be a financial advisor and arranged my first personal mortgage in 2005 then arranged the finance to allow me to purchase Valerie Manor. In 2010 he came and asked me for a job! I feel like the luckiest person alive to have Alan by my side supporting me every step of the way along with my amazing Mum and Dad (Muma and Papa Bates!). Thank you also to my sister for working at the Manor for so many years (Sally-Ann) and to my brother (Damon) and my sister for putting up with all those late Christmas Lunches that my Mum and Dad mentioned – one year the whole family instead of having a late lunch joined the Valerie Manor family for our Christmas Lunch – My Neices and nephews too! A true Valerie Manor family!

2021 will be a better year for us all!

Take care.

Zoe xxx