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Sharon Allen, CEO of Skills for Care, visits our services

Community Integrated Care was delighted to welcome Sharon Allen, CEO of Skills for Care, to see some of our community engagement efforts in North West England.

Skills for Care are one of the most influential organisations in the social care sector, setting and sharing best practice in care across England. They support organisations to provide better-led, more skilled and valued workforces.

Sharon wanted to see first-hand some of our community partnerships and person-centred approaches in dementia care settings. Over the course of a packed 24 hours, she visited two of our most ambitious services, EachStep Blackburn and St Luke’s, and saw our pioneering Widnes Vikings partnership in action.

In this video, Sharon reflects on her time with our charity…

EachStep Blackburn

Sharon Allen at EachStep BlackburnWe kicked off the tour with a visit to EachStep Blackburn, our brand-new £5m specialist dementia care home, which opened in May. Sharon described it as being a “beautiful and high-quality care home that has the community at the heart of it.”

During the visit, she met three of our key partners – local colleges, Tauheedul Islam Girls’ School and Blackburn College, and the South Asian community group, One Voice Blackburn. They shared their brilliant contributions that have helped to make our home a hub for the local community. The enthusiastic students were praised as being “the social care leaders of the future” and One Voice were commended for their inspiring community cohesion efforts.

Special praise was also given to EachStep’s Manager, Phil Benson, for his commitment to making bold decisions to improve the lives of the people he supports.  

St Luke’s


The next stop of Sharon’s tour took her St Luke’s Care Home in Runcorn. Here, she learned about our integrated model of care with NHS Halton CCG, which has recently been shortlisted at the Health Service Journal Awards. She also enjoyed touring some of the special themed rooms in the home, including its pub, cinema and vintage sweetshop.

Sharon met the home’s Assistant Manager, Brenda Jobber, who is part of their National Graduate Management Scheme. Brenda shared her experience of being part of the scheme and her supportive learning environment at the home.

She also spent time with the home’s Manager, Adrienne Ratcliffe, who was praised for her “focus on making things better”.

Widnes Vikings

Chemics CafeSharon’s packed visit finished at the Select Security Stadium, to see our Widnes Vikings partnership in action. She attended a Chemics Café session, our free monthly dementia café with the club. This session was as creative as ever, featuring yoga, advice on promoting wellbeing and stress management, and an appearance from one of the game’s most successful players – World Cup winner, George Nicholls.

She described it as a ‘”fantastic initiative” and “a joy to be part of”. Sharon said, “The relationship the club has with Community Integrated Care is really brilliant.  I hope you can be a trailblazer and encourage other clubs to do similar things, because having an interest in sport and something that brings a community together. I think the relationship is a credit to both organisations.”

Thank you, Sharon, for taking the time to visit our services. We’re looking forward to continuing to build upon our relationship with Skills for Care in the future.

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