Management training

put it into practice and an outline of how they will deliver their vision in each of their individual areas.

Support through mentoring Each delegate is allocated a mentor throughout the programme to help them to develop their individual visions within the organisation. The mentoring was originally carried out by the directors but, in the latest cohort, mentors have also included a regional manager and an experienced home manager - both of whom are programme graduates. There is no time limit on the mentoring,

with mentoring sessions continuing long after the programme has finished. Finally, we carry out an evaluation to give us some pointers and direction on what we can do to improve the programme going forward, as well as looking at the tangible impact on our organisation.

Wider recognition for the programme A good indicator of how well our LDP is being viewed in the wider care sector is through the comments on recent Care Quality Commission reports for our care homes including one for Boulters Lock, one of our ’Outstanding’ rated care homes. The inspector’s comments noted: ‘We

saw the registered manager and deputy manager had undertaken this leadership development programme. This programme provided the opportunity to fully integrate the provider’s values and expected standards of managers, as well as support leaders to develop skills to have a positive impact upon people, staff team and, the home as a whole.’

Personal testimonies Several Hartford Care home managers and deputy managers who have completed the LDP, started their careers with the company in roles such as laundry assistants, housekeepers, care assistants and nurses.

Lisa Sellens One of Hartford Care’s longest-serving staff members, Lisa Sellens, began working in the laundry room at one of our care homes. Lisa now runs West Cliff Hall in Hythe, Hampshire -

one of our largest care homes. “I found the leadership programme

very inspiring and motivating. As a home manager, it taught me how to adapt my leadership skills to each and every situation, and helped me understand the leader I am which, in turn, helped with my confidence at the time,” says Lisa. “I feel I benefited the most from

the programme by building a closer relationship built on trust with my mentor and not only during the programme but even now four years on. I would recommend any potential star of the future to attend the leadership programme for not only recognition but for their development too.”

Tabitha Donovan Tabitha was appointed manager of Malden House in Sidmouth, Devon, in January. “I began the LDP as a deputy manager at Malden House in in 2018. I always knew I

wanted to progress my career to become a manager one day and the programme gave me the foundation to do this,” she says. “Every time I came away from a workshop, it left me feeling inspired and motivated to better both myself as an individual but also to influence the day to day lives of our residents. We went on a journey of learning about different leadership styles, what ‘good’ looks like and how we can make our vision for the home into a reality.”

Angela Merrick Angela started her career as a PA to one of Hartford Care’s directors and is now the company’s facilities and contracts manager. “The workshops and

coursework on the LDP were thought- provoking and challenging but made enjoyable, with lots of interaction and support between our group,” she says. “Participating in this course has been

hugely beneficial to me, not only for my career development but also for my personal development, as I’ve learnt a lot about myself and my leadership style which has given me more confidence and changed me as a leader.”

June 2021 •

Conclusion Life and work in a care home will always be busy and demanding but we are truly blessed in that we have the opportunity, as well as responsibility, to make a positive difference to so many – we have purpose. The leadership programme has provided our teams with the tools to recognise what ‘good’ looks like and work towards it in our homes.

Success seldom comes as a giant leap

but as a series of small wins. We seek to celebrate these and continually improve. The pandemic has, of course, brought

a whole new series of challenges and much learning for all our leaders. Our next step will be to reflect on this to reinforce and strengthen us for what lies ahead.


Sean Gavin

Sean Gavin has been chief executive officer of Hampshire-based Hartford Care for nearly 21 years. Appointed finance director with the then Whites Motor Group, after his arrival, the company changed its commercial direction from the motor industry to care homes. Hartford Care was formed, and Sean took the lead as founding director and shareholder. Since then, Sean has been instrumental in growing and shaping Hartford Care, which now has a portfolio of 16 care homes located across southern England. The company employs over a combined 600 staff at its care homes and head office in Basingstoke.


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