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Staff and residents are Jill’s priority

A manager whose door is always open to her staff has been honoured with a long service award from her employers. Jill Harris, 58, says communication and humour are the watchwords that have carried her through 25 years working at Allonsfield care home, in Campsea Ashe.   She was presented with a directors’ long service award from her employer Kingsley Healthcare to mark her milestone. Mrs Harris, who started as a part- time night carer when her children were young, has progressed through the ranks to senior carer, team leader, deputy manager and for the past decade  manager.   She said: “I liked the job straight away. Care work is not for everyone but I find it so rewarding. It is all about getting to know the residents. “When I started it was more of a retirement home, one resident had his own car and others used to walk to the shops.   “Atonetimewehadalordanda lady here and over the years we have celebrated plenty of 100th birthdays. “Now nearly all our residents have some sort of dementia, reflecting the huge growth in the number of people affected by the condition.” Mrs Harris, who lives in Tunstall, has seen the home itself change over the years too. “The original home, a 16th Century farmhouse, has 20 beds; but an extension has taken our number of beds to 41,” she said.   She described her role as “full on” with no two days ever being the same. “I spend a lot of time with families who, while their loved ones are being cared for, can sometimes feel forgotten,” she said. “I also have to make time for staff and be there to listen. Caring is both mentally and physically demanding and they need someone to go to and unload.   “You have to learn to prioritise and these guys my staff and residents are my priority.” Author: Richard Cornwell (EADT)    

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