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Kirsty Lees

7th October 2021

Sanctuary Supported Living

Wellbeing and Inclusion Assistant stands in front of the sign for Lawley Bank Court, in a purple Sanctuary uniform top

Kirsty Lees has worked at Sanctuary Retirement Living’s Lawley Bank Court in Telford since it opened in 2014. She initially joined as a Care and Support Worker, then became an Activities Coordinator in 2017.

In 2019, Kirsty took on her current position as Wellbeing and Inclusion Assistant, when Sanctuary Retirement Living launched the ‘Your Home, Your Life’ campaign, which enabled staff to take a more rounded approach to residents’ wellbeing. She now shares her time between Lawley Bank Court and another Sanctuary Retirement Living service, Rose Manor in nearby Ketley.

Kirsty’s background of working in a range of care and support roles and different settings means that she has a wealth of knowledge and understanding to draw on, when working with residents who have physical disabilities, mental health needs or other complex care needs, including dementia. Thanks to her previous experience, she understands how to communicate and work with residents in a way that puts their individual needs first.

Since taking on her current role as Wellbeing and Inclusion Assistant, Kirsty has played an essential part in helping residents at the retirement services to both maintain their old links with their local community, and build new ones.

Alongside her wellbeing and inclusion colleagues, Kirsty helped to organise socially-distanced VE Day celebrations and while Covid restrictions were still in place, arranged for a local bagpiper to perform outside where residents could watch, to mark Remembrance Sunday. She also helps the residents association with fundraising for additional entertainment, activities and events, as well as organising days out.

She said; “My role is all about empowering residents to remain independent and develop new friendships within the scheme or the wider community. During the pandemic, we had to find ways to adapt our usual activities such as a socially distanced doorstep VE sing along and Christmas Carols.”

I make sure residents are healthy, happy and most importantly have a smile on their face, and focus on combating isolation to improve their mental health.”

Kirsty works closely with all the staff at Lawley Bank Court, including the care team, housing support staff and the hospitality team who run the on-site Taste restaurant. Kirsty explained: “Good communication is key to my role – we all work together to ensure that residents get the best possible experience of retirement living.”

As part of Lawley Bank Court’s wellbeing and inclusion team, Kirsty has formed strong links with the local community, such as the local Morrisons store, who generously donated food parcels to residents during the first lockdown and surprised them with boxes of biscuits at Christmas. The kindness and generosity at Lawley Bank Court goes both ways, as Kirsty and her colleagues have also supported residents with collecting regular donations of food and raising funds for local charities, including Telford Crisis Support, which helps families and individuals in the Telford & Wrekin area. In summer 2020, with support and inspiration from the wellbeing and inclusion team, residents joined forces with West Mercia Police to donate dozens of knitted teddies for local children in need.

One of the projects Kirsty has worked on is the service’s Dignity Tree wall display – which was created in partnership with residents, highlighting what dignity means to them, and which was noted when the service was rated ‘Good’ in a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

One of Kirsty’s proudest achievements was receiving the building bridges award from the local councillor to thank her for working with a local school and nursery to develop links between children and elderly.

Kirsty added: “I love being active and bringing joy to residents’ lives. If I can make a difference to even one person by having a chat or helping them with a daily task, then I feel motivated. The best thing about my job is making residents smile.”