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Care homes group launches recruitment drive for workers laid off due to coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 10:32 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:58 23 March 2020

Roger Catchpole at Brandon Park nursing home, which has an 'outstanding' rating from inspectors. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Roger Catchpole at Brandon Park nursing home, which has an 'outstanding' rating from inspectors. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A premium private nursing care provider has launched a bid to recruit staff laid off because of coronavirus.

Brandon Park nursing home, one of the homes which is now recruiting staff hit by the coronavirus crisis  Picture: GREGG BROWNBrandon Park nursing home, one of the homes which is now recruiting staff hit by the coronavirus crisis Picture: GREGG BROWN

Family-owned Stow Healthcare is offering temporary or permanent roles in care, catering and housekeeping across its five care homes in Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.

Three of the homes run by the company – which is based at Stowlangtoft, near Bury St Edmunds, and is owned by the Catchpole family – are rated as outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

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While many sectors are suffering job losses due to the crisis, others such as the care sector and supermarkets are on recruitment drives. The care sector has been struggling for some time to fill vacancies, while supermarkets have been struggling to keep up with buyer demand as shelves empty due to consumer stockpiling.

Director Ruth French said the launch of its Air to Care recruitment campaign follows job losses across a range of other sectors.

Roger Catchpole, with his mother, Catherine Catchpole, and his sister, Ruth French, of Stowlangtoft Healthcare. Picture: HOLLY RIGGSRoger Catchpole, with his mother, Catherine Catchpole, and his sister, Ruth French, of Stowlangtoft Healthcare. Picture: HOLLY RIGGS

“The idea came to me when I heard about airline staff losing two month’s pay. Clearly people cannot survive without the income that they are used to, and I realised that there were many sectors facing the same problem, including retail and hospitality,” she said.

“We need extra staff right now, and we are in a position to train and support staff on a temporary basis, if they want to return to their normal roles in the coming months, or even permanently if they love our homes.

“We are really excited to welcome new staff with different skills and experiences to boost our great teams.”

The business currently employs nearly 300 staff catering for around 250 residents in its care homes, which are all highly rate by inspectors.

Stowlangtoft Hall, Brandon Hall at Brandon, and Ford Place, Thetford are rates as outstanding by the CQC, while Melford Court in Long Melford and Halstead Hall, near Braintree, have a ‘good’ rating.

The business was founded by the Catchpole family in 2010, and started out as a farm diversification business after the farm stepped in to save the Stowlangtoft Hall home when it was at risk of closure.

The move meant that elderly residents were able to remain. Roger Catchpole, who had a background as a property developer, became its managing director and Ruth French, his sister, became operations director, having worked in the civil service.

Staff taken on as part of the Air to Care campaign – which is open to employees from all sectors hit by coronavirus – will be offered training and will be able to return to their normal jobs when those jobs re-open.

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