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Dedicated training helps care home get ship-shape

Surrey-based charity The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society is reaping the rewards of its dedicated staff training programme, delivering career opportunities for team members and improving facilities for residents and tenants.

The Society, which cares for 68 residents and up to 28 tenants at its 14-acre Weston Acres estate in Banstead, invests heavily in training to deliver long-term career opportunities for its team, with many choosing to dedicate years of their careers to the charity. This includes an in-house trainer and upskilling across the Society’s teams, which has been key in supporting the development of team members and delivering efficiencies for the charity.

This focus on upskilling has allowed the Royal Alfred’s teams to learn a range of new skills, removing any additional costs of hiring sub-contractors and reducing waiting times. The Society’s dedicated maintenance team now complete 95% of all jobs on-site and have been key in supporting the charity’s ambitions to reduce the home’s reliance on fossil fuels.

One member of the maintenance team identified the opportunity to renovate a number of flats in the Society’s sheltered housing unit to deliver value for tenants and ensure ongoing modernisation. The project included all electrical work, tiling and redecorating, without the need for external contractors. Another member of the team joined the Society as a general assistant on the housekeeping team before showing an interest in joining the maintenance team; with support from the Society, he was able to complete an electrical course and has since helped complete renovation projects for the home, delivering huge cost efficiencies.

The Society installed solar panels which have cut electricity bills by around 15% and introduced a sustainable pellet-fired biomass boiler which has reduced gas usage by around 20%. Their latest environmental initiative was sinking a 135m borehole to supply fresh water to the home which, now up and running, will save the home £8,000 a year, allowing for even more investment in facilities for residents.

Dedicated training

Maintenance Technician Nick Potroanchenu joined the Royal Alfred in 2012 after carrying out work at the home as a building contractor. Nick said: “I have always liked a challenge and working at the Society has allowed me to build on my skill set to learn new things that can make a real difference for residents and tenants day-to-day. I’ve done everything from carpeting to tiling, carrying out complete refurbishments and renovation projects within the home, and am always supported by the Society to further my knowledge through training, qualifications or just getting stuck into something new!”
Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, Chief Executive of the Society, said: “Our commitment to training and development fosters a culture that keeps talented, caring individuals with the Society long-term, which contributes to the comforting environment we’ve created for residents and tenants and helps us save money on everything from recruitment to maintenance.

“As a charity, we have to manage the challenge of keeping costs down where possible while delivering an outstanding level of care to all our residents and continually innovating and improving our facilities. The work the Estate management team have carried out shows the benefit of internal training and support provided to our colleagues.

“Our Estates staff are one of the main cogs that keeps the Society moving. From groundkeepers to maintenance staff, the team are in-charge of the day-to-day running and upkeep of both Belvedere House Nursing Care Home and Weston Acres House for independently living tenants. As well as improving the standard of living for our current residents and tenants, the maintenance team are also working towards a lasting legacy for the Society.”

To find out more about the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society please visit the website: To keep up to date with the latest news from the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society you can follow and like the official Society Twitter (@RAseafarers) and Facebook pages.

August LTD
Grahame Gardner
Mr Trax Curtain & Blind Solutions
Inspired Inspirations
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