Richard Cowlishaw has recently joined Evington Home in Leicester as Business Manager. He told us what led him here, and how he’s been settling in
Peaceful, with nice, encouraging staff. That was my first impression of Evington Home.
Visiting my mum in hospital after her stroke over Christmas had a part to play in leading me to Evington. She was on a ward where there were a lot of people with dementia and I ended up helping them with things. I felt like God was saying to me, "This is where I’m going to take you."
I wanted to work with older people for a Christian organisation, and I have experience in business management. So when I saw the role of Business Manager advertised at Evington, it felt like it ticked all the right boxes.
Working for a Christian organisation is brilliant. We’re free to be open about our faith and give glory to God. Everybody is on the same page and focused on the job – people realise that it’s about serving God and not serving themselves.
The first thing I do each day is walk around and greet all the family members and staff. It’s really nice to have that sense of community.
I’ve built a real rapport with one lady in particular – she reminds me of my mum. She likes lots of the same TV shows as she does, like Diagnosis Murder and Murder She Wrote. She’s also a big John Wayne fan. She had a habit of staying in her room, so I went out of my way to go and see her and encourage her to come out, which she’s started to do.
There’s another lady who’s from the Caribbean. I went on honeymoon last year in Cuba and we’ve had some really interesting chats about that.
It’s so encouraging to see the faith our family members have had all their lives, and to talk to them about Jesus. A number of those living with us have dementia. Nonetheless, it’s incredible to see how passionate they are about their faith and how much they enjoy singing during worship times.
Devotions are a bit different from normal because of the coronavirus outbreak. Instead of volunteer speakers coming in, they are streamed via video link to the lounge.
Andi, our Social Activities Coordinator, is doing a great job of keeping everyone’s spirits up. She organises activities like knitting, gardening and film nights. Recently she organised for us to take part in the Alzheimer’s Society’s Cupcake Day (photos on our Facebook page).
Evington is a bright, modern home that’s recently been refurbished. My favourite place is the Grocot Lounge. We have three lounges and Grocot is designed to be a quiet, reflective space. It also has its own kitchenette where family members can make a cup of tea or use the microwave and toaster, which they really enjoy doing.
Evington also has a lovely garden. We are close to Pilgrim Gardens, one of Pilgrims’ Friend Society’s independent living housing schemes. During the pandemic, they’ve been having outdoor services and Mandy Smith, the manager there, always lets us know when they are taking place so our residents can come out and hear the music and join the singing from a distance.
My role involves juggling lots of different tasks. There’s everything from managing payroll for our staff to ensuring payments from residents are processed, including liaising with the wider finance team and local authority as necessary. I also work closely with our maintenance officer and our catering manager and housekeeping team to ensure everything’s running smoothly.
Starting a new role in the middle of the pandemic has brought extra challenges. I had to do my training online instead of face-to-face. A lot of time on video calls over the computer can be tiring. However, the induction was one of the most thorough inductions I’ve ever had. My colleagues Jeanette Davis and Lynn Hall have been a great support and made me feel very welcome. And the ongoing support from the wider team has been brilliant, too. If ever I’m not certain of something, there’s always someone on the end of the phone who I can ask.
Every day, Jeanette, the Registered Care Manager, and I pray together. Often we join in with the 8.45am prayer meeting that’s been set up across the whole organisation on Zoom during the coronavirus outbreak, sometimes we’ll sit together and just pray for Evington. Then we’re set to crack on with the day.
Could Evington be your new home? Find out more here