Three loyal staff members who have between them racked up 45 years of service with award-winning care service provider Extra Hands says caring for carers is the key to success and keeping employees happy.
Doreen Taylor, Anne Brady and Caroline Simpson have each worked 15 years at Extra Hands, which has offices in Horsham St Faith and Heacham. The company was founded by husband and wife David and Hazel Evans in 1993, and recently received an Outstanding award from the Care Quality Commission.
Extra Hands staff do all they can, from physical help to shopping trips and even just chats on the phone, to ensure care users can stay in their own homes and lead independent lives for as long as possible – and the long-serving trio say the quality of the training and personal support they receive is the integral to the company’s success.
“What really helps us keep going is that the carers are cared for, too,” said Anne, a 64-year-old grandmother of two, who also looks after her own mother. “We’re well trained and respected. I’ve always found that if ever there’s a problem, I can go to anyone in the company and talk.”
Doreen was a chef at the University of East Anglia before switching careers and said it was the way she felt valued by Extra Hands that had kept her in the job for so long after an uncertain start.
“When I started I didn’t know if I could do it, but after two days of training they told me I was a natural!”, she said.
“I don’t know if I would have continued doing it all this time if I was with another company, though. At Extra Hands, you feel valued by the people you go out to visit, and also by the people you work for. As a company, they train you extremely well, and provide great support when you’re doing the job.”
Even during lockdown, training manager Justin Mayes has continued his award-winning training sessions for new staff via Zoom, and Caroline Simpson, who spent 10 years as a visiting carer before taking up her current role behind the scenes, said this is a testament to how staff welfare is prioritised by the company.
“Staff are trained to the very highest standards and the company will bend over backwards to make sure you’re comfortable,” she said. “We’ve had people leave, then come back, because they find out other companies aren’t as supportive as Extra Hands.
“(Company co-founder) Hazel (Evans) has always wanted it to stay a family orientated care company, and makes so much effort. I’ve been in lockdown since March and she’s rung me and everyone else, every week, to check things are ok,” she added.
Well trained and well supported staff makes for a stable workforce, which makes for a reliable, trustworthy service, which in the current climate is more important than ever for service users.
It also makes for happy staff, who know they are appreciated by their company, and in return, appreciate it back.
“The people who run Extra Hands put their all into everything, for staff and for the care service users,” said Caroline.
“People leave us, but they come back. I know one woman of 50 who went to work in a care home, lasted one hour and came back here in tears because she didn’t like it. The grass isn’t greener anywhere else than it is at Extra Hands.”