Blog: In his second guest blog, Bluebird Care’s CEO, Shabir Hussain, explains why Bluebird are involved in a range of community work across Calderdale.
“Our primary focus is, of course, Care In Your Own Home. But we also have a strong commitment to the Calderdale community through a range of voluntary work that shares a similar focus, namely making the lives of older people richer and more rewarding.
I’m a strong advocate of the work done by small, voluntary organisations and have been involved as a panel member with the Staying Well project, in Elland and in Park Ward, since it was launched. Staying Well funds local groups with projects to tackle loneliness and isolation in older people and helps them get established and grow. I think this is a really good fit with the work which Bluebird does.
Dementia awareness is obviously a key skill amongst our care workers. But Calderdale is also lucky to have a number of voluntary sector organisations that support people with dementia and their families and friends. I am the chair of Dementia Friendly Sowerby Bridge, which helps people living with Dementia, have better life outcomes. We work closely with businesses and other key organisations to make Sowerby Bridge a better place in which to live, shop and play.
On a similar theme, back in March, I helped launch a new initiative called Calderdale Dementia Friendly Community, which has more strategic goals around encouraging organisations that interact with the public to become more aware of dementia.
That in turn makes the organisations better able to support people living with dementia. We want to broaden the understanding of dementia and enable employees to understand and recognise that behaviours which might be caused by dementia. A good example might be someone going to pay at a till and then just standing and looking at their money. With good staff awareness of dementia, comes an understanding of the behaviours which might be caused by the condition. Staff are then more likely to provide individuals with support and perhaps, in this example, just give them more time to handle the payment process.
To achieve these goals, we run dementia awareness sessions throughout Calderdale and starting very soon we will be taking a roadshow around towns in Calderdale, beginning with Brighouse, this Autumn.
Another community initiative that we support is The Great Get Together at Crow Wood Park in Sowerby Bridge. Part of a national initiative in memory of Jo Cox MP, this event’s aim is to bring communities from different backgrounds together to demonstrate that we have more things in common than differences. It also has a strong anti-loneliness strand. But to those who come along on the day, it’s just a really good, old-fashioned community event.
Everyone who works on the event is a volunteer and our aim is not to make any money. This means many of the activities are free, whilst food and drink are produced by volunteers and sold at cost. It all helps older people and families to get out and enjoy a very fun day, without breaking the bank.
Bluebird Calderdale has now been in existence for 14 years and I’m really proud of the fact that in that period we’ve not only developed a reputation for providing excellent and affordable Care In Your Own Home, but that we also have built strong community ties. We’ve been at the heart of some really important initiatives and voluntary projects that have contributed to the community cohesion of Calderdale and had a positive impact on the lives of many, especially older and disadvantaged people.