Kemble at Home

Sigeric Business Park, Holme Lacy Road, Hereford HR2 6BQ

Kemble at Home provides support to different people, it doesn’t matter how old they are or whether they suffer from complex physical conditions.

For example, Kemble at Home is there to help so that you can…

Get out and about a bit more

Staff help people stay active in the community; for instance by driving them to visit family or join them to community events.

Get most out of life with a complex medical condition

All staff are trained to support a wide range of complex conditions that require regular or ongoing support.

Recover gently at home after a stay in the hospital

Staff pick you up when you are discharged or come around to help you settle back into your daily routines at home.

Take a break from caring for a loved one

It doesn’t matter whether it is a few hours or a few days, staff give these carers a break by looking after their loved one – for as long as necessary.

Go on holiday

Staff help you pack and carry your bags! Staff is there to help you prepare for your trip and can accompany you to help you during the journey and at your holiday destination.

Enjoy their last day in the comfort of their own home

Kemble at Home has got a select palliative care team, who receive extensive training through St. Michael’s Hospice in palliative and end-of-life care.

Home care can take many shapes and forms, and it is always a partnership between the client and their loved ones, and the carer. There is no one size fits all and Kemble at Home will be there to suit what fits you.

Owner : Kemble Care LLP

Person in charge: Cathy Watkins (Registered Manager)

Type of Service: Home Care Agency (Privately Owned)

Provides Carers directly to the general public: Yes

Number of Carers: 118

Services Offered: 24 Hour Care • Adult Care (18+) • Live in Carer • Personal Care (on a contracted hours basis) • Personal Care Assessments • Risk Assessments in the Home

Care Offered: Alcohol Dependence (Past or present) • Call in Service • Cancer Care • Cleaning Service • Companionship • Dementia • Domestic Services / Home Help • Elderly Care • Food Preparation & Serving • High Dependency Care, two carers attending • Hospital Discharge • Laundry Service • Learning Disability • Medication Assistance • Mental Health Condition • Palliative Care • Personal Hygiene Care • Physical Disability • Respite cover • Sensory Impairment • Shopping Service / Errands • Sit in Service • Transportation Service

Directions: Kemble at Home is situated on the Holme Lacy Road, just outside Hereford City centre. From the City: Leave the City on the A49 Ross Road, cross the river and follow the A49, passing St Martin's Church on your left. Take the next left turn onto Holme Lacy Road. Follow Holme Lacy Road across three roundabouts and Kemble Care is situated on the left hand side of the road, opposite Skylon Park. From Ross: Coming along the A49, you will pass the Suzuki Garage and the Grafton Inn on your left and at the next roundabout, turn right onto the B4399. Follow the B4399 to the next roundabout, turn right and Kemble Care is situated on the left hand side of the road, opposite Skylon Park.

Visiting: Kemble's standard working hours are 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday

Parking: Visitor parking can be found to the side and rear of the building. Please walk around to the front of the building and ring for attention.

Overview of Review Score

The Review Score of 9.8 out of 10 for Kemble at Home is based on a) the Average Rating and b) the number of positive Reviews.

  • a) The Average Rating is 4.8 out of 5 from 25 Reviews over all time. This Average Rating is also the rating value for Kemble at Home in Google's Search Results – more info

  • b) The score for the number of positive Reviews is 5 out of 5 from 18 positive Reviews in the last 24 months.

Detailed Breakdown of Review Score

  • a) 5 Points are available for the Average Rating of all Reviews over all time. For each review the Home Care Provider / service is rated Excellent, Good, Satisfactory, Poor or Very Poor on a number of areas eg Staff, Management etc. The Home Care Provider receives points for each rating as follows: Excellent = 5. Good = 4. Satisfactory = 3. Poor = 2. Very Poor = 1. These points are added up and then divided by the total number of completed ratings to generate the average rating.

    The Average Rating of 4.788 for Kemble at Home is calculated as follows: ( (118 Excellents x 5) + (25 Goods x 4) + (3 Satisfactorys x 3) ) ÷ 146 Ratings = 4.788

  • b) 5 Points are available for the number of Positive Reviews in the last 24 months. If there are no Positive Reviews in the last 24 months, then 2.5 points are available for the number of Positive Reviews in the last 48 months. A Positive Review is defined as any Review with 'Extremely Likely' or 'Likely' in answer to the question 'How likely are you to recommend this care provider to friends and family if they needed similar care or treatment?'

    The 5 points available are broken down as follows: 3.00 points for the first Positive Review, 2 points in total for each of the next 9 Positive Reviews (1st = 3.00, 2nd = 0.50, 3rd = 0.50, 4th = 0.25, 5th = 0.25, 6th = 0.10, 7th = 0.10, 8th = 0.10, 9th = 0.10, 10th = 0.10) ie an Home Care Provider needs 10 Reviews to receive the maximum score of 5 points.

    If there are no Positive Reviews in the last 24 months, then 2.5 points are available for the number of Positive Reviews in the last 48 months. The calculation is the same as above, except the points are divided by 2.

    The 5 Points relating to the number of positive Reviews for Kemble at Home is based on 18 positive Reviews in the last 24 months and is calculated as follows:

    1. 3.00 + 0.50 + 0.50 + 0.25 + 0.25 + 0.10 + 0.10 + 0.10 + 0.10 + 0.10 = 5

  • When a Review is submitted by someone who has previously submitted a Review, only the latest Review will count towards the Review Score.

9.8 Kemble at Home has a Review Score of 9.8 (9.788) out of 10 and an Average Rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 25 Reviews over all time

Average Ratings

  • Excellent
    21
  • Good
    4
  • Satisfactory
    0
  • Poor
    0
  • Very Poor
    0
  • Don't Know
    0

How Likely are the Reviewers to Recommend Kemble at Home?

  • Extremely LIKELY
    22
  • Likely
    3
  • Don't know
    0
  • Neither Unlikely or Likely
    0
  • Unlikely
    0
  • Extremely UNLIKELY
    0

Reviewer Connection to Kemble at Home

  • Client / Service User
    10
  • Daughter of Client/Service User
    8
  • Daughter-in-law of Client/Service User
    1
  • Friend of Client/Service User
    1
  • Granddaughter of Client/Service User
    1
  • more
Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

Appeared very professional at the first point of contact and my first impressions have been confirmed. A first-class outfit. Excellent staff.

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Jason Walker at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 25 Jun 2019:

Thank you for your review, I will pass on your feedback to the West Team Manager.

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

Wonderful staff and service, who are always prepared to take that further step to ensure that clients needs are fulfilled.

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Jason Walker at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 21 Jun 2019:

Thank you for your review, we are pleased to hear your team go above and beyond and that you are happy with the support we are providing you. Best wishes. Jason

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

My brother has complex health and social care needs which demand the highest standards of care and in our experience, Kemble at Home does not fall short. The Care Manager for Kemble's West Herefordshire team works with us in an incredibly efficient and committed way to ensure that my brother has a small
team of carers with whom who he gets along and has trust in. The standard of care they provide is high, and we find the service is truly flexible to meet his needs for such things as Doctors appointments etc. Nothing is too much trouble whether it's a short notice change to the rota or a change to the usual activities the Care Manager always deals with such requests professionally and very quickly, we have never been let down. It's just good to know there is someone at the end of the phone who knows my brother very well and will always provide sensible advice and respond to any requests or observations. Very happy with Kemble at Home.

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Jason Walker at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 19 Jun 2019:

Dear Carol, thank you for your lovely feedback, I will pass on your comments to the West Team Manager.

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

Kemble at Home has looked after me for 5 years in my own home giving me the independence needed, with all good care staff.

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Average Rating:  Average rating  4.5 out of 5

The team at Kemble are always friendly and professional. They support me physically and mentally so I have the confidence to maintain an active lifestyle. They help to stop my worries and anxieties of going into society. I would recommend them always.

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Average Rating:  Average rating  4.3 out of 5

I had multiple visits during the days after breaking one ankle and spraining the other and living in a 3 storey house. I continued with limited visits until a knee operation when they increased again. Now fully mobile I have a visit every 2 weeks to tidy up the house.
All the girls were extremely
pleasant and good with time keeping despite traffic problems in Hereford city.

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Average Rating:  Average rating  4.8 out of 5

Extremely helpful and supportive team. The lead carer is exemplary and takes full responsibility of the team and my father's well being and keeps me up to date at all times.

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Jason Walker at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 07 Mar 2019:

Dear Julie, thank you for your review. It is a pleasure to support your Father and we are glad your lead carer is working well for you.

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

Kemble have been helping with looking after my mother-in-law since she came out of hospital in November. They were able to provide us with very good care from day one and we can't thank them enough for this. Over the period we had regular carers who came in and they all acted with care and compassion.
I would highly recommend them to anyone in the Hereford area who is looking for care for a loved one from the experience that we have had from the outset.

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Jason Walker at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 03 Jan 2019:

Thank you for your Review Pauline, we have enjoyed supporting your Mother-in-Law and are pleased that she has regained her independence. Best wishes. Jason

Average Rating:  Average rating  4.8 out of 5

My grandad has type one diabetes and after a stay in hospital was released back to his home. Due to the family's work commitments, we decided to get some professional care to help with my grandad's needs. Kemble at Home was recommended to us, so we gave them a call and arranged the days and times we
required them to tend to my grandad. From day one we felt we had made the right choice, Kemble at Home's staff made us feel secure in the knowledge that our grandad would be well cared for and he was. The staff were very caring, honest, trustworthy and professional, my grandad thoroughly enjoyed the experience, he and us would recommend Kemble Care to anyone.

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Jason Walker at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 01 Jan 2019:

Dear Deborah, thank you for your review. Our staff enjoyed supporting your Grandfather. We wish you all the very best. Kind Regards

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

My brother in law and an old friend have Kemble at Home and are extremely pleased with the gentle and professional help they receive. I hope they are around when I need help.

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Average Rating:  Average rating  4 out of 5

The girls that came to me have been very efficient and I feel very safe with them. They seem capable of most things.

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Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

My mother has needed care in the home on days when I am unavailable to be with her for over a year now and I am very happy with the service Kemble at Home provide. The members of staff when I have met have always been friendly, diligent, helpful and above all caring towards my mother. Members of the
management team have also been very accommodating whenever I have needed to alter carers visits and have been particularly cooperative and adaptable when I have had occasions to ask them for immediate cover. Kemble at Home provide a professional and reliable service and it's particularly reassuring to read the notes which the carers make during each visit so I can assess my mother's immediate well-being.

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Cathy Watkins at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 18 Jun 2018:

Thank you for this review - we are very happy that we are able to assist in supporting your mother. Kemble at Home Team

Average Rating:  Average rating  4.2 out of 5

I am very satisfied with my care provider. They try to please both client and carer and listen to us so we get the service we hope for. They have had a few difficult months with unexpected staff changes but now seem to be settled with a good team of management and carers.
I ask them for care continuity
and communication. It is very important that clients and carers get on well so it is good that - up to a point - we can choose who comes into my home and deals with our personal care.
It is comforting when timing and carers are regular, otherwise, it can be quite upsetting.
As I get older, I wish for carers who are familiar, with me and my home and routine - so important.

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Cathy Watkins at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 05 Jun 2018:

Thank you for your honest feedback. We are pleased that we are able to give you the support and continuity of carers.

Average Rating:  Average rating  3.8 out of 5

So far quite satisfactory.

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Average Rating:  Average rating  4.8 out of 5

We have the highest praise for Kemble at Home. They have brilliant Carers who really care about mum and who she sees as friends. We receive excellent support from the office, Care Manager and from the 24 hours out of hours service. They always do their best to accommodate mum's needs as they change.
Mum is able to continue living in her own home, which she loves and is happy in, because of the marvellous support of Kemble at Home.
The Carers are always reliable and arrived even in the disruptive snowfall, earlier this year. Some walked through the ice and snow! Kemble at Home respond with extra support if needed, very quickly. Mum is able to stay at home because of Kemble at Home's amazing team and service. Mum and our whole family are very, very grateful. Thank you Kemble at Home!

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Cathy Watkins at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 23 May 2018:

Thank you for taking the time to write this wonderful review - we are very pleased to be able to provide the support your Mum needs to be able to stay happy within her home. Regards, all of the team at Kemble.

Average Rating:  Average rating  4.8 out of 5

Kemble at Home cared for my Mother-in-law when she returned from hospital - they made it possible for her to return to her home.

It was a very professional and efficient service from the first day of meeting the Manager and the carers were a great help and companion to my Mother-in-law.

Thank

you, Kemble.

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Cathy Watkins at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 16 May 2018:

Thank you for your review - we are grateful for your trust in our services and glad we were able to offer your family support in this time of need. regards, Cathy Watkins.

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

I rang Kemble at Home in the autumn of 2017, our parents were advised to have some extra help as our lovely dad's mobility was getting very poor and was, in addition, to help given by the family. The lady I spoke to was really understanding and listened to my concerns and a package of care was put
in place, which was increased in time. The Carers were absolutely wonderful to our Dad, they treated him with great respect and spoke to him in a very pleasant and friendly manner. They did not rush him and took their time to do the personal care required and also help him move around the home.

The carers were fantastic to our Mum and the family. Dad passed in January just as the carers arrived, they stayed with Mum and my Sister for quite a while and were a great comfort and support. We are so grateful that the Kemble at Home and support staff came into our lives we could not have looked after Dad at home as well as we did without them. Thank you all so much.

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Sandra Taylor, Business and Marketing Manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 22 Mar 2018:

Dear Anne, thank you for this wonderful review. We are grateful for your trust in our services and glad we were able to offer your family support in this time of need. Warmest regards, Kemble at Home team

Average Rating:  Average rating  4.5 out of 5

Kemble at Home gave me great support in the last years of my husband's life and have continued to give me support since his death. I have recommended Kemble at Home to a friend who needed help after having a hip replaced and she has been pleased with the help of her recovery.

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Sandra Taylor, Business and Marketing Manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 14 Nov 2017:

Dear Jean, thank you for your kind response. We are very happy to have been able to provide support to your husband and yourself. Warmest regards, Kemble at Home Team.

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

The carer allocated to us was very courteous, polite and very helpful. I could not have done without his help.

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Sandra Taylor, Business and Marketing Manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 03 Aug 2017:

Dear Christiane, thank you for your review. We are glad we were able to help, and that you were happy with our services. Warmest regards, Kemble at Home team.

Average Rating:  Average rating  4.8 out of 5

Everything from the company has been excellent. They have been so professional, which is not the case with all care agencies. The carers are lovely and caring. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't know my mum was so unwell.

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Sandra Taylor, Business and Marketing Manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 11 May 2017:

Dear Patricia. Thank you for a lovely review, we can assure you we will continue to do our best, ensuring that your mum's wellbeing is uncompromised. With very best wishes, Kemble at Home Team

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

I have carers visiting me very regularly. I enjoy seeing all of them! They offer support and companionship.
All carers assist with personal care, cooking, shopping together, taking me to and from appointments, collecting prescriptions, housework etc
All carers are very well trained and extremely
professional. Their contagious smiles are a credit to the company!
Thankyou Kemble at Home!

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Sandra Taylor, Business and Marketing Manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 12 Mar 2017:

Thank you for your review! We enjoy visiting you and we hope we can continue to provide high quality service you value so much. With best wishes. Kemble at home

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

Kemble at Home care for my elderly parents in their own home. From initial introductions, planning and implementing the care package everyone has been very professional, considerate, helpful and efficient. The Carers are all well trained and have engaged easily with my parents who immediately felt at
ease. Kemble at Home assured us they would be able to provide the care package with a small team of workers who would get to know my parent's individual likes and dislikes, they have done exactly that, leaving me feeling confident that when they are with them my parents are in good hands.

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Sandra Taylor, Business and marketing manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 09 Mar 2017:

Thank you for a lovely review. We are glad you and your parents are happy with our services. We will continue to do our best. Kemble at Home team

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

I asked Kemble at Home for help following an operation for a knee replacement, which they provided over a six week period. I was delighted with the standard of care, professionalism and friendliness of every carer who came to my home, and would have no hesitation in recommending Kemble to anyone needing
similar support. Thank you.

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Sandra Taylor, Business and marketing manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 09 Mar 2017:

It was a privilege assisting you over the last 6 weeks. We wish you all the best in the future. The Kemble at Home Team

Average Rating:  Average rating  5 out of 5

The Kemble Care team have given the kindest and most considerate care to our Mother over the last 4 1/2 years in her home. Their attention to detail, documentation and alert system for concerns regarding changes in our Mothers daily condition should be highly commended.
All calls were considerate
and respectful towards a very private elderly lady during some difficult interventions. Many carers provided friendship which was very touching.
They were compassionate listeners to any concerns raised and always addressed them.
Sadly we lost our Mother in January 2017 but we will be eternally grateful to Kemble.

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Sandra Taylor, Business and Marketing Manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 08 Mar 2017:

Dear Christina, thank you very much for such a lovely review. It was a pleasure looking after your mother over the past few years. With very best wishes, The Kemble at Home Team

Average Rating:  Average rating  4.8 out of 5

We always have excellent service from friendly caring staff who know their jobs and treat everyone well. Always kept up to date and everything is done in a caring thoroughly professional way. I have no hesitation in recommending the service and have told Mother's care manager as well. Well done to everyone
for all your superb efforts.

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Sandra Taylor, Business and marketing manager at Kemble at Home responded to this review on 01 Mar 2017:

Dear Peter,
Thank you for the lovely review. We are pleased to hear you and your mother are happy with our services and we will continue to do our best.
Kemble at Home Team.

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Care Quality Commission (CQC) Rating

Overall
Good

  • Caring

    Good
  • Effective

    Good
  • Responsive

    Good
  • Safe

    Good
  • Well-led

    Good

Care Quality Commission is responsible for the registration and inspection of social care services in England.

View Latest Report

June 2019

April 2018

May 2017

December 2012

Investors in People Gold Award

Recipient: Kemble at Home

Date: Monday 03 Dec 2012

more details

Carly

Carly Garner-Green

Job Title: Care Assistant

Joined: 2009

Description:

The day Carly joined us we were still known as Kemble Care – run by our founders Michael and Sharon King. Carly: “I was interviewed by Sharon, I can’t believe it is that long ago already. And boy did Sharon have heart for the business, she would ring half the world if she had to so that a client could have their visits at the time they wanted. You just wouldn’t have the heart to say ‘No’ to her!”

From her very first day, Carly was thrown straight into the deep. “I remember doing my induction course, and then I shadowed a colleague for only two visits on a Friday evening, before being sent out on my own the next morning! My first visit was with a lovely man, 7am Saturday morning, to help him get ready for the day. I was incredibly nervous – but it all went well and I loved it.”

It all went swimmingly. Until one day, something happened that would change her life. On a Thursday afternoon, Carly received a phone call to ask her if she could become the legal custodian of her brother’s three-month old daughter Olivia – her brother being unable to look after her himself under the circumstances. Carly: “It was very dramatic. Either I would have to look after her, or she would be taken into foster care. And there I was, 24 years old, and suddenly I had a three-month old girl to care for.”

She immediately put her life on hold. Carly: “I started working part-time, I stopped going out, my whole life revolved around one thing – this beautiful little girl that had been placed in my care. I cared for her as if she was my own daughter.”

When Olivia was two years old, Carly met her now husband Tom – another tree surgeon and friend of her brothers'. Carly: “We met, and it was clear as day. This is the guy for me. We met in June, I got pregnant in August, and in May the next year our little boy Harry arrived.”

Olivia would stay with Carly, Tom and Harry until she was four years old, when she moved back to her father. Carly: “She has always been part of our family, and she always will be. We see her all the time and her and Harry have basically grown up as brother and sister.

We will always have this special bond – for four years she lived with me as my daughter. She will always have a special place in our hearts, for me, Tom and Harry. She will always be my girl.”

Harry is three and a half-years old, and will not have to wait long for another brother or sister – Carly and Tom are expecting a new arrival later this year. The new year will start with the joys (and sleepless nights) that come with having a little one, and then next Summer will be another big year, where she celebrates a decade with Kemble at Home.

Jin

Jin Pardoe

Job Title: Care Assistant

Joined: 2017

Description:

Meet Jin, who is not only a carer in our team but who is also one of our qualified specialists in holistic therapy and massage. Jin can do wonders in making people feel better – in both body and in spirit.

Having grown up in the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia), as the single child of two dentist parents, Jin first came to the UK in her late teens. She worked as an Au Pair in London for about a year, learning all about English language and culture on the go.

She came back again for a holiday when she was 21, and this time she was to stay – she met her husband, moved to the UK, got married, and had a daughter.
Jin, “My husband lived and worked on an organic fruit farm and I joined the business, doing the bookkeeping and helping run the business. After my husband very sadly passed away, I stayed with the business for a while longer – I very much support the idea of growing organic fruit and it was a pleasure to support the company.”

She decided to develop different skills, and she completed a course in Holistic Therapies at Herefordshire and Ludlow College, working as a mobile therapist – specialising in different types of treatment like reflexology, Swedish body massage and Indian Head Massage.

In addition, she also worked for a little company called ‘Herbfarmacy’, who create their own organic skincare products – straight from the fields. Jin, “They grow their own herbs, which they turn into creams and oils and so on. They had a little kitchen with some mixing machines, and oh my word the smells were just wonderful, so lovely!

We would mix different herbs and turn them into the most wonderful creams. It is amazing to think what you can make yourself with the right ingredients. And of course we tried all of it, scraping the leftovers from the bottom of the mixers! It was a most wonderful place to work.”

“When I am not working, I spend a lot of time with our dog Riley, who is Pomeranian by breed - and she is a girl! Me being foreign, I didn't realise that Riley here and mainly in Ireland is a boy’s name. I absolutely love her and spend a lot of time with her. She's usually my main photo model.”
Because that is another one of Jin’s hobbies: photography. “I love taking photos of the sky, clouds, and nature. We have had some magnificent sunsets over the last year. The photo of the sunset is from Santorini in Greece, which I visited in April. It was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen.“

“I love traveling, I love seeing new parts of the world and meeting new people. I have been on a very memorable trip to South Africa. In Cape Town, I met a girl called Samantha who was HIV Positive. That meeting has made a big impression on me, it has made me feel very grateful for just meeting her. On the trip I also had the opportunity to stroke and pat a 12 month old lioness cub that was bubbling on my thumb. I felt amazingly happy to have the little queen of the jungle on my lap.”

Paul

Paul Rollinson

Job Title: Care Assistant

Joined: 2008

Description:

Meet Paul, another one of our carers – and again one with an unusual hobby. Very unusual. Quite violent, too, it has to be said. But more about that later.

Who is Paul? Paul is one of those people who – I assume – everybody gets on with. He talks easily, is very non-pretentious, and has some very interesting turn of phrase up his sleeve that are bound to make you giggle. Just a normal, nice, and funny guy really.

He is not a Herefordshire boy, Paul. But he has come to love it over the years. Paul, “I moved to Hereford from Doncaster when I was twelve, and I hated every bit of it. It was far more rural than I was used to, it felt like stepping back in time. Like everybody was still living in the fifties. Doncaster suddenly felt like a very modern, big city to me.”

It took him a while to settle in. “I remember being at school, I still had quite a strong Yorkshire accent then. This boy came up to me and said (Paul does a fair impression of a Herefordian accent here) ‘Doncaster, is that the capital of Doncastershire?’ and I thought ‘Oh my word, because Hereford is the capital of Herefordshire this guy thinks Doncaster must be in Doncastershire – where on earth did I end up now?’”

Over the years he has learned to love Herefordshire though – he lives with his wife just out of town. “I love the countryside here, I can’t see us leaving in the near future.”

Paul has been a carer with us for about ten years, and boy, did he take a massive leap in changing career paths. Paul, “I was a bit of a rebel when I was younger, I didn’t want to be part of the establishment. I guess I was a bit of a ‘weekend-hippie’ - I couldn’t live the proper hippie lifestyle, so I just did that over the weekend.” After finishing school, he made himself useful in all sorts of ways, including as a dishwasher in a hotel and as a painter and decorator, before “stumbling onto stone”.

“I got into shaping headstones for graves, and learned a lot about working with stone. This was the time that granite kitchen worktops were becoming popular, and a friend and I set up a business crafting stone kitchen worktops. We did very well, we made kitchen worktops for David Beckham, Jamie Oliver, and many others. I actually managed to break the first one I made for Jamie Oliver and had to start all over again.”

When he left his stone business, he took a year off, doing “er… not much, really. I worked on the house, but I am also very good at just drinking tea. After a year my wife saw a job ad from Kemble looking for carers, and persuaded me to apply.”

“I had never dreamed of being a carer really, and I was a bit concerned whether I would fit in. I thought that all carers must be, how do I put it, ‘very nice people’, with endless patience and who are friendly and perfect all day. I was very glad to find out that they are just normal people, although they do rather exceptional jobs. But they spill their coffee and go out for a smoke like the rest of us.”

And how did he find it, being a carer? After all, it is definitely something else than designing granite kitchen worktops. “When you have been with a client for a while, you build a relationship. I have got only male clients, and after a while you almost talk to each other like mates – it becomes very easy. I love hearing their stories, they’ve got so much to tell.”

“It always remains a bit nerve wrecking to meet a new client, even after ten years. I am very mindful that their home is their home, it is not my workplace. You and the client have to work it all out together. I often say to a new client, ‘you’ve got to tell me exactly how you like things done, it is your home. We’ll just bumble through this together’, and before you know it you’ve got a great relationship.”

And then, there it is. That unusual hobby of his.

Because at the weekend, Paul transforms into a 17th century soldier in Cromwell’s army, fighting for his life on the battlefield with some 3.000 of his mates – hacking away at one another.

Er… he does what? Yes, that’s right.

Paul is a member of The Sealed Knot, aka ‘The Society of Cavaliers and Roundheads’, which stages battles from the English Civil Wars. Serving as the Commanding Officer in John Birch’s regiment (who captured the city of Hereford in 1645), Paul leads the charge, killing any Royalist he can get his hands on.

Some fight with muskets, others with swords, and yet others – including Paul – with Pikes, 16-20 feet long wooden speers with steel points on the end. The Pikemen are often the front line of the army (and therefore pretty darn vulnerable), and their role is to fend off the charging enemy – on foot or on horseback. Paul, “my wife and two sons also go ‘Knotting’, my sons are also Pikemen. Now that they are married, they take their own family.”

Don’t be fooled, this is not just a bunch of guys darting around in someone’s back garden. These enactments are gigantic operations.

Paul, “when we stage historic battles, like Marston Moor, Edgehill, or Naseby, they can go on for days with thousands of people involved.

There are drummers, horses, musketeers, and we try to follow the historic battle as much as possible – if we can, we place our canons in exactly the same spot as 300 – 400 years ago.

Some of the battles are filmed for documentaries and there are often large crowds watching. They are big events.”

Does it really get quite violent then? Paul, “Oh yes, the adrenaline can really take over. I am the Commanding Officer, and I am responsible for my guys. Sometimes you can just see people’s eyes glaze over, they get so into it. I’ll have to drag them off the field sometimes so that they can snap out of it – things can get a bit silly sometimes.”

When sufficient numbers of Royalists have been captured, spears splintered and the dead and wounded have been dragged off the battlefield, the real fun begins. “It all revolves around the beer tent, really. You meet people of all ages, colours and religions, and you end up sharing a beer with the guy you speared earlier in the day.”

And then, again, there is one of these turns of phrases, and you can’t help but smile. “It is such good fun, these battles, every time again. It is like a curry, even a bad curry is always a good curry.”

Gill

Gill Sharp

Job Title: Receptionist

Joined: 2008

Description:

Meet Gill, our wonderful Receptionist

“When I was a policewoman in Rhodesia….”, says Gill, “I was quite confident with a gun. I am glad I never had to use it.”

Everybody knows Gill. Our clients, our staff, everybody who visits or rings our office gets to meet or at least speak to Gill, our ever so calm and gentle receptionist. But not everybody knows what an extraordinary life she has lived. So extraordinary, it is almost hard to wrap your head around.
A life that includes growing up in a home-made zoo in Zambia, starting a horse riding school in South Africa and working as a police officer in Rhodesia – today’s Zimbabwe.

Gill’s parents moved to Zambia after WWII. Her father worked as a Game Ranger in Luangwa Valley, often known as the ‘honey pot’ of Zambia because of its incredible wildlife.

"My father would bring home all the orphaned animals he found”, says Gill. “He built a zoo in our back garden. We had snakes, lions, zebras, antelopes, and all sorts of other animals around the house.”

“When I was six, I had my own baby Baboon, Belinda. I would bottle feed her, dress her up and wheel her about in the pram, followed around by the cat, the dogs and the zebra. She slept in a pram in my bedroom, and in the morning she would snuggle into bed with me.”

The animals got used to being around people, and most could not be returned into the wild. Gill: “Some of the animals went to a zoo in England. Our lions went into acting, one of them played a role in the film ‘Cleopatra’.”

When she was eight, Gill moved with her parents, two brothers and sister to the UK – which of course had never been home to her. She was used to the sun, the warmth, to African ways. It must have been quite a shock coming to cold, wet and crowded England.

“I didn’t like it at all in the UK”, says Gill, “I missed home terribly.” Fortunately for Gill her father had itchy feet too, and they moved to South Africa when she was a teenager.
Always having had a love for animals, Gill decided to set up her own horse riding school in Grahamstown, in the South East of South Africa. She bought thirteen horses and a 29-acre plot with a barn and some stables, and was ready to get started when the draught came.

“It was a very dry year, and I couldn’t afford to have the water transported to where we kept the horses, so we had to carry it all up. All the water, every day, for thirteen horses. In the end it became too much, and I had to sell almost all the horses.”

She moved to Rhodesia, where she joined the police forces as a patrol officer, obtaining her Advanced Driving license (i.e., driving at high speed through busy traffic) and her Motorbike and Heavy Duty licenses.

“I just thought I’d love being a police officer, I think I liked the idea of the action and excitement. Although I didn’t like the blood, I found it hard having to go to car accidents or violent incidents where people got seriously wounded.”

Knowing Gill, probably one of the gentlest people you’ll ever meet, it is hard to imagine her driving at full speed through town at night with a gun on her hip. But as an officer in Rhodesia, there is no doubt she must have been tough, and not easily afraid. “We always brought a handgun and a rifle,” Gill says. “But then you’d always have to keep the gun in the boot of the car, so you would basically go into a crime scene unarmed. It is just as well I never had to use it, because I would first have to go and get the gun from the boot of the car and find the ammunition.”

She met her husband, also a police officer, and because the Police Department didn’t like married couples in their workforce Gill changed jobs. To add another unusual career change to her life, she started working for Rhodesian Broadcasting, the national broadcasting company, recording and editing the radio shows before they were broadcasted. “This was well-before the era of live broadcasting, so we had to record material and then splice the tapes – cutting and pasting them by hand – to put the recorded material and the music together in a way it flowed nicely”, says Gill.

With a civil war going on, Rhodesia was a turbulent place to live. When their first daughter was born, Gill and her husband decided to move to South Africa, where Gill found a job in the offices of a large department store.

“Of course, in Rhodesia we spoke English and I couldn’t understand any Afrikaans. I couldn’t work in the shop, so I worked in the offices.” There would be three more children to come – another girl and two boys – all born and raised in South Africa. Gill: “My children are all so proud of their background, they love South Africa. It will always be home for them.”
By the time Gill lived in South Africa, Apartheid must have been in full swing. “I hated it, it was awful. The system forced everybody to follow the segregation laws, you couldn’t get out. For example, we had some wonderful black staff, and we always treated them very well. But they wouldn’t be allowed to sit in the front seat if we all went somewhere in the car, and they wouldn’t be allowed to enter the house through the front door – not even in my own house. I wasn’t even allowed to decide for myself who I invited through my front door, it was appalling.”

In her early 40s, Gill divorced her husband and moved with her children back to Zimbabwe (previously Rhodesia) – and then, after another three years, back to the UK. She found a place to live in Milton Keynes, near Bletchely. “It was dreadful, I couldn’t stand the place. It was just not a friendly place, the town, the people, the houses, it all filled me with dread. I would have taken the first plane back home if I could,” she says. She stayed in Milton Keynes for only four months, before moving to Hereford, where in the end she joined our team of carers at Kemble Care.

Now being the proud grandmother to five grandchildren, one of whom lives with her, she has not been back to Africa since she moved to the UK. Is there a chance she might go back? “One day, hopefully. I would love to visit my sister in Zimbabwe and go back for a holiday. I do miss it, Africa will always be my home.”

Peter

Peter King

Job Title: Managing Director

Joined: 2009

Description:

Sharon and Michael King established Kemble Care in 1993. They retired from day to day management in 2009 but continue to be involved with strategic issues that concern the business.
Peter King, their eldest son, has been Managing Director since July 2009. Previously an Army Officer with the Royal Engineers, he set up and ran his own business before coming to Kemble Care. He is a director of the UKHCA — our national homecare association — where he represents smaller providers of care.

Cathy

Cathy Watkins

Job Title: Registered Manager

Joined: 2015

Description:

Joining us in 2015 to head up the recently formed Live-in Department, Cathy now overseas all of our care delivery. Rachel's chief competitor for the office's most physically fit member, her evenings are divided between exercise classes (including something called "tabata") and babysitting Roux and Winnie (dachshund's come children).

The role of a Registered Manager is to ensure that the service meets its legislative requirements, to lead staff, and to ensure the standard of care & support offered is not just safe & adequate, but outstanding.

If you have any questions or comments about our service then Cathy is a good port of call.