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The new manager at Downham Grange, in Clackclose Road, Downham Market, has unveiled her plans to put the Kingsley

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The new manager at Downham Grange, in Clackclose Road, Downham Market, has unveiled her plans to put the Kingsley Healthcare run nursing home at the very heart of the local community. In her first two months in post, Jane Petit has already forged links with the College of West Anglia, establishing a pipeline for health and social care students to visit Downham Grange for work experience. And through a new relationship with the local branch of the social enterprise Volunteering Matters, she has opened the way for young people with learning disabilities to visit the home to join residents for social activities such as dominoes and cards.

Jane brings huge experience to her new role, having worked for many years as a cancer and palliative care nurse before two spells as the CEO of a hospice, first in Ipswich then in Peterborough. She said: “As a 16-year-old, I started out working as a carer in a nursing home while I was still at school. “After a career spanning four decades I thought it would be good to come full circle back to a nursing home.” She is pleased to have inherited a home that was praised in a good Care Quality Commission report earlier this year, but is still full of ideas for further improving the service. “There are a lot of things we can do to improve the range of activities and one of my aims is to find a local volunteer to help us run a gardening club,” she said.

“I want to transform the inner courtyard into a sensory garden for the enjoyment of people who have dementia and other sensory impairments.” Jane also plans to expand the programme of events and is looking forward to a new carol concert from 4.30pm on December 16 when the Hilgay Brass Band visits the home. She said: “It will be a great occasion for residents and their families and we are also inviting the families of past residents to join us for mulled wine and mince pies.”  

Anyone willing to volunteer to run a gardening club is invited to ring the home on 01366-387054.

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