My Life: Alison Bedford

Alison BedfordAlison Bedford
Alison Bedford
When Alison Bedford was little she’d help out after school at the care home where her mum worked.

Little did she know that years later she would be running Peregrine House in Whitby and have been crowned Care Home Registered Manager of the Year at the national finals of the Great British Care Awards.

“I still can’t really believe it,” says the mum-of-two.

“It was amazing when I won the regional heats in York, but to go down to London and be up against all the big southern care homes, I didn’t think I stood a chance.”

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The awards are the industry’s most prestigious showcase for the otherwise largely unsung heroes of the care profession. The glittering ceremony, hosted by celebrity dancer Anton du Beke, was held at Grosvenor House in London at the weekend.

From over 18,000 care homes in the UK, Alison excelled against eight other regional finalists to impress an interview panel of judges to clinch the award.

“Although it is a great personal achievement for me it is a pleasure to accept the award for the whole team at Peregrine House, they all work extremely hard and I couldn’t have done it without their continued support,” said Alison.

Owner of Peregrine House, Dr Kevin O’Sullivan, has nurtured Alison’s progress since she joined his team 1999. Beginning work in the kitchen, she worked her way up through the home, training on the job and mastering each role to become manager in 2003.

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Her exceptional caring and organisational skills have helped to earn Peregrine House its own string of accolades; an Investors in People GOLD Award, Investors in People Champion, Excellent and Three Star rating from the Care Quality Commission and it is also a Dignity in Care Champion.

“As manager, Alison is utterly dedicated to guaranteeing the residents of Peregrine House are happy and well cared for,” says Dr O’Sullivan. “She instigated the home’s philosophy of care, which is to treat the residents in the same way that they would look after the most loved member of their own family. She ensures the whole team has the training and resources to achieve this objective consistently and to a particularly high standard. We are absolutely delighted that she has won the award; she deserves it for her complete dedication, integrity and inspiring leadership.”

Although Alison had helped out at Peregrine House and was always interested in care, when she left school she went to work in Burberry’s factory where she stayed for 13 years until she had her children.

“When I had my children I trained as a childminder and then when they started school I went to work as a domestic at Peregrine House because the hours suited me. I just worked my way up. It wasn’t easy when I was promoted to manager. I was suddenly in charge of all the people I had worked with for a long time. But then I realised that it was my job, and it was nothing personal.”

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Peregrine House has been undergoing a number of changes over the last few years including an extension which has raised the number of residents to 30.

“The most important thing to us is getting to know our residents, what they are interested in, what they did before coming to us and making sure they we keep them active and interested,” says Alison. “We are one big happy family.”

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