March 17, 2010

UK: Innovation is key to Mario Kreft’s Wrexham care home business

. WREXHAM, North Wales / Daily Post / Business News / March 17, 2010 By Eryl Crump, Daily Post INNOVATION and development have been the key priorities for an award winning care home company which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Mario Kreft and his wife Gill formed Wrexham-based Pendine Park when they were unable to find suitable residential care for their elderly grandparents. The couple now run six care homes, a domiciliary care company and a teaching care centre. Mr Kreft is chairman of the North Wales Care Homes Association and the honorary chief executive and a founder member of Care Forum Wales. Pendine Park already employs 500 people in north east Wales. Bodlondeb, a new, pioneering dementia unit being built at the company’s main site, will create another 100 jobs. A similar number could be created if plans for another scheme get the go-ahead at Caernarfon. Mr Kreft said: “I think it’s fair to say that when you’ve had a personal situation or experience, you see things in a different light. “It was many years ago in our case but it taught us that you need the very best services possible to meet your relatives’ needs. “We were in a position where we couldn’t really find those services so we decided to take matters into our own hands and provide the sort of care that we felt was required for our grandparents, providing us with peace of mind and our grandparents with dignity and respect.” His grandmother, who had Alzheimer’s and whose home in Rhyl was called Bodlondeb, has inspired the Wrexham centre. The unit will be divided into eight small, family-like units so that the residents receive individual care and attention while benefiting from the back-up of a larger organisation. He added: “My grandmother was a guiding light when I was growing up – she is the inspiration for the new Bodlondeb. Bodlondeb is good news for dementia sufferers and it’s good news for the economy of north east Wales because there will be a significant number of permanent jobs created here. “The whole concept will provide more than 100 jobs, based primarily around the centre of excellence, and we hope to expand the service through our domiciliary care service, Independent Living Options. “This is a unique development because we have looked outside the box. Our aim is to provide a joined up approach providing registered care practitioners in the community and our teaching care centre will be training our own staff and assisting partners and families to care for their loved ones in their own homes. “There is undoubtedly a great need for these services. There is no question we need more facilities both in the community and in care homes and within the NHS for people with dementia. “What we are aiming for is the best of both worlds – the feel and scale of a family home allied to the expertise and resources of a larger organisation.” In January Mr Kreft announced plans for a £4m centre on the site of the former Bryn Seiont community hospital in Caernarfon, to be modelled on the Bodlondeb centre. To ensure suitable staff for the centres and care homes Mr Kreft has signed an agreement with Glyndr University, Wrexham. It will enable health and social care students to go on placements to Pendine Park with staff from the care organisation studying at the university. Pendine Park has employed an artist in residence at its care homes for more than 15 years and the Hallé orchestra conducted a series of creative music workshops with residents. Mr Kreft said: “It’s important to remember that elderly people in care are still people. They still have lives and need to be stimulated.” [rc] Copyright © 2010 Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales Limited.