History of B&M Care
On 12th September 1975, B&M Care Chairman Bill Hughes took the keys to his first care home in St Albans. Clare Lodge was licensed for a fee of just £1 with the commissioning authorities at the time and the care of the ten residents living there was handed over to Bill Hughes. “I was only 34 years of age, a new father and I just didn’t know if this was going to work out. I was scared about embarking on a new journey but I believed I had the right values and determination to make a home for these vulnerable people”.
Bill Hughes was born in County Galway, Ireland in 1941 and spent most of his childhood in the care system, only making contact with his birth mother again at the age of 52. At 16, like many other young Irishmen in the 1950s he set off for England into the unknown. Construction and carpentry were his trades and where he made lifelong friends like Liam Bailey who still works for B&M Care today in the construction of new care homes.
Forty-one years on and those 10 residents have multiplied to 1,200 with the opening in 2015 of B&M Care’s 23rd home, Bury Lodge in Beaconsfield. With the addition of new homes being constructed at Crowthorne Berks, and Hoddesdon and Kings Langley in Hertfordshire B&M Care are set to grow to 27 care homes by 2020. With their own in house construction company (Maynecol), B&M Care design and construct all their own care homes and deliver high standard environments. “We focus on finding sites in the right locations and then building community hubs that are enabling environments to meet the needs of older people and people that live with a dementia” says CEO, Ian Sloan.
B&M Care employ over 1200 care and ancillary staff between their care homes and at their Hertfordshire Head Office in Hemel Hempstead. Their staff training and development is industry envied and staff retention and long service is high. Elaine Thorpe, Training Manager said “B&M Care have developed robust, quality induction training which is above the National Care Certificate required by the Care Quality Commission”. With a values based recruitment strategy that focuses on recruiting staff that have a natural ability to connect with people, B&M Care are able to ensure staff recognise and respond to the emotional needs of a person in their care.
With over forty years’ experience, B&M Care know a lot about caring for the needs of older people and have a real understanding of dementia care. Operations Director, Rachel Rodgers says “B&M Care are committed to our policy of quality and delivering the highest standards of person centred care. To our families this means value for money and peace of mind that every person in our care matters and that their individual needs are being met in the best possible way”. All B&M Care dementia homes in Hertfordshire are accredited by Hertfordshire County Council for their outstanding dementia care and B&M Care’s Dementia Lead, Caroline Inch is sharing that experience and knowledge within the communities where B&M Care operate. “This year we have set up Dementia Seminars and Dementia Cafes which offer an important support network for people and carers in our communities”. Caroline has also co-written with B&M Care’s Business Development Manager, Angela Hunt ‘What good dementia care looks like’ which signposts what good dementia care looks like.
Today B&M Care can be described as a ‘family run business for families’. Bill Hughes is very hands on and not averse to still rolling up his sleeves to landscape the gardens of B&M homes and offering personal support and guidance to his home managers. His daughter, Dr Colleen Wood is a Company Director and Clinical Adviser and son Brendan plays a supportive role with various projects. The ‘for families’ ethos is directed at the residents and families that choose a B&M Care home. Their aim is simple: to make every moment count for a person living with a dementia and their families.
Residents, families and staff at B&M Care homes in 2015 joined a year-long programme of celebrations for the 40th Anniversary. Homes hosted anything from Garden Parties, BBQs, Street Parties and Car Shows to Vintage Fairs, and Bill Hughes and his family have attended every event, cut many cakes and planted numerous commemorative trees. “It’s been exhausting but great fun” said Bill Hughes “the staff and residents have really put on some lovely events and I am enormously proud of them all”.
Bill Hughes has published a book that tells the story of B&M Care, and also touches upon his passion for vintage and classic cars. The Ashlyns Hall Car Show on the first weekend of August every year, started off in the 1990s with just a handful of his car enthusiast friends and this year saw around 300 cars over the course of the day.
This 41 year old Hertfordshire based company is a success story that will continue to offer worthwhile careers and improve the lives of older people and people who live with a dementia for many years to come.
In September 2001 B&M opened a new venture, The Fledglings Day Nursery and Pre-School, on the Ashlyns site at Berkhamsted.