Margaret Woodham and Jenny Minshull have been working at Blenheim House for over 35 years, so we decided to mark the occasion by sitting down and having a chat about their lives and careers.

Both Care Assistants, Jenny and Margaret provide care for the residents of Blenheim House, as well as assisting with the running of the home and ensuring the residents and their families are happy when they join us.

Jenny is the longest serving member of staff at Blenheim House, and works as a care assistant along with spending time with her ever growing family:

Q: Can you remember when you first started?
“It was in October. Can’t remember the actual date.”

Q: What made you come here?
“I came for an interview, I thought I’d like to do care but had never done it before, I was about 32. I had an appointment with the manager, said she’d start me off on a three-month trial. Still never heard whether I passed that trial but I’m still here!”

Q: What does your husband do, what does he think about you working here?
“He is a carpenter/joiner. He has never complained about me being here. When I started here I had 3 young children and he was in the building trade and it wasn’t going well so I had to come back to work when my youngest was 5 months old. All my children are married now, and I have 11 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild and another grandchild on the way. I help look after them all and life is very hectic!” 

Q: How do you have the time to come to work?
“Well I always said I would go onto days. I’ve done nights for the whole 36 years because it fits in with my childcare and now my grandchild care, and I look after my mother as well. She’s 89 this year. I share this care with my 2 sisters and my brother.”

Q: Why have you stayed all this time?
“I have occasionally considered working somewhere else, but I don’t drive and I live locally, and I really enjoy working with people and caring for people. I feel I have empathy and skill caring for people who are at the end of their journey, and I feel I do this well. I enjoy working here. Sometimes it’s hard, but then any care setting can be hard, so I don’t see the need to move.”

Q: You will have noticed some big changes over the years?
“Yes. It’s a big place and there are a lot of us. I’ve seen different managers and staff come and go, and then the big change with coming over here from our little home over the other side which was really difficult as it was small and homely, and then this is big so it’s been difficult keeping up with everything.”

Q: Would you recommend working at Blenheim House to people?
“Yes. I would say come and give it a go. Caring isn’t for everyone, but it’s a good job if you are a “people person”. There are more opportunities now than there were when I started, like the senior positions and the med techs.”

Q: What is the best thing about working here?
“I suppose really the people I work with. People are so friendly and sociable. There are good training opportunities for people who want to go that far.”

Q: Do you like Majesticare as a Company? 
“Yes. Since they took over Sampford we were always being sold. Majesticare were the only company who did what they said they were going to do.” 

Just six month’s short of Jenny’s longevity, Margaret joined the team in July 1983 when he son was just three-years-old: 

Q: Can you remember when you first started?
“It was July 83, I can’t remember the day!”

Q: what made you come here?
“There was a lady who lived by me who worked here, she asked if I wanted to join the team to work weekends, but after only one weekend I ended up working full time and have been full time ever since! My very first day there was a lady who was dying. It didn’t frighten me but I had never seen it before. When she passed, her son who was a doctor gave us all a thank you voucher and I thought it was really sweet of him.”

Q: How many children have you got?
“Three – 2 girls and a boy. My youngest boy was 3 when I started here and he’s 39 now!”

Q: Why have you stayed all this time?
“I enjoy working here. When I came it was the old Sampford home and I think there were only about 30 beds on the nursing side.”

Q: It’s changed a lot, are you still enjoying it?
“I love it because I love looking after people and it’s so rewarding.”

Q: You will have noticed some big changes over the years? “Yes. There used to be 2 sites, one was residential and dementia and the other nursing, it was awful when the residential side closed down and all the residents had to leave and the staff were moved over to the nursing side. This was long before it was owned by Majesticare though. The residential side was in the old school building. That was where the office is now. We call it the “old” side. It was a boarding school for boys. I only ever knew it as the residential part of Sampford. The boys were long gone when I started here of course. The phased building took a few years and we were moved to this side once the school had been demolished and rebuilt, after which they did the other side.”

Q: What is the best thing about working here?
“The residents and staff, and I like the new manager as well. I love the whole thing. The only way I will be ever leaving is when I retire, and I don’t think that will happen in the near future.”

Q: Do you like Majesticare as a company?
“Yes, they have made things a lot better for all of us.”

Q: If we look at the Company values of Trust, Family, Happiness, Creativity and Heart, would you say these exist at Blenheim House?
“Yes, I can feel all those values, I see them in action all the time and I love working at Blenheim House.”