Riccall Care is built by and for people
In 1984 Peter and Sheila Lawson, together with daughter Gill, opened a small residential care home. During the 90s they diversified into domiciliary care and established Riccall Care (RC), a home care business employing 25-30 part-time workers. Today, York’s leading independent home care agency and preferred supplier to City of York Council, with the help of daughters and son-in-laws, Gill and Tony Conroy now employ around 300 care workers. People and family values sit at the heart of their business and hard won success; here’s their achievement through people story…
Good training, welfare and care are woven into Riccall Care’s DNA and since the early 80s Gill Conroy has been instrumental in the development and improvement of care delivery for vulnerable people across the region.
Gill Conroy: “When we opened our first care home there was very little training for care workers with no recognized care training courses. Following a request from York & Selby National Care Homes Association I attended a City & Guilds workshop in 1990 about the introduction of National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) for care assistants. I disseminated the information to other care homes and encouraged people to take up training opportunities.
“I have always encouraged learning and development. In-house training was carried out by the larger national nursing homes but there was no national standard, training was ad hoc and not shared with smaller providers. Health and social care workers were, in the main, very kind but didn’t necessarily deliver ‘people centered’ care around respect and dignity.
“With no support from Government or local authorities, in 1991-92 York College facilitated a meeting for NHS, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and smaller individual providers resulting in the establishment of The North Yorkshire Assessment Consortium to provide NVQ’s in Health & Social Care. I became one of the first Assessors and was a member of the Assessment board for a number of years.
“Once care training became mandatory training agencies popped up, but it became expensive, patchy in quality and not always easily accessible.”
By 1993 Gill and Shelia were delivering meals on wheels to the local village and the business diversified into domiciliary care, which saw RC caring for elderly and vulnerable people as well as those with mental health needs, learning disabilities, sensory impairment, chronic and terminal illness.
Wanting to learn more about dementia, raise awareness of the illness AND find better ways of caring for sufferers, Gill joined the steering committee of the Selby Alzheimer’s Disease Society and became the first Chairperson.
Understanding the imperative for high quality care training, in 2000 Gill took the unusual step for a small care business of creating an in-house training department. Gill’s first training manager helped co-ordinate training and induction for all RCs care workers and underwent training with the York Alzheimer’s Society in order to train care workers about dementia.
In 2008 RC moved into larger offices at Escrick Business Park and the training team expanded buoyed by a GNC Best Trainer Award.
By 2012 the training team further expanded and launched their dedicated, fully equipped training suite and accredited care training courses. Courses were accredited to level 2 and 3 with the Open College Network (OCN). Available to all care sector workers, private individuals and businesses, these courses offer vital learning and support to anyone with a care responsibility.
Tony Conroy: “Domiciliary care, can be a difficult area to manage. As a family we have always believed strongly that quality care comes from good people, trained well and that’s our priority.”
Keen to keep their services as people centric and accessible as possible in 2014 RC launched a new website and social media focusing on delivering information and support with emphasis on excellence in care training: www.riccallcare.co.uk and the company was recognized in 2015 with a national Family Business Red Ribbon Award.
Along with sector leading care training, including the new Care Certificate, looking after their own employees is a top priority and in 2015 RC Introduced Love2Shop benefits giving staff access to savings from the high street to holidays and the ‘8+’ quality training programme. This unique programme helps ensure the RC team support each other to perform better and deliver a great service, in what can be a highly pressurized environment. Through regular ‘8+’ sessions, everyone is encouraged to float new ideas to improve systems and highlight any problems early on. The hierarchy of the business is not ‘top down’ but puts the client at the very centre with radiating layers of support.
Mike Richards: “It’s imperative when dealing with vulnerable people to be aware and accountable at all times and, at Riccall Care, we are all responsible for each other’s success and failures. Communication and trust is key to delivering care with kindness, dignity and respect.”
Christmas 2015 tested the team to the limit, as clients’ homes were flooded, it was a testament to training and dedication that saw carer’s go above and beyond their roles to support clients and others throughout the city.
Early in 2016, RC’s consistent high quality approach to training and improvement was rewarded, as the training team were one of three national finalists in the prestigious National Skills for Care Accolades.
2016 also saw the launch of a monthly dementia friendly Care Café. Run by the RC training team, free and open to all, it offers professional advice, companionship and support for those caring for friends and relatives at home. Plus, discounted dementia care training for non-professional family members.
Riccall carers are also very supportive of the company joining in with a wide range of charitable and fund raising activities throughout the year, including a carer who baked a giant cup cake to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society.
Care is about and for people. Riccall Care has been built on the delivery of superb care by well-trained, compassionate and dedicated team of carer workers. As Gill comments:
“We’re proud of what we have achieved, but there’s always so much more to do!”