In April 1992 a fantastic centre came to life – a centre that was the first of it’s kind in the North West – Pinfold Lane. This week has seen the celebration of 25 years of Pinfold Lane and it was a time to reflect on some of the fantastic work the centre does and the difference it has made to the lives of so many people living with dementia and their carers.
Who better to tell the story of the centre than Monica Crossley (now retired) who was the manager who opened the centre back in 1992 and established it as the centre of excellence that we know and love, managing it for it’s first 10 years. Monica, a guest of honour at the birthday celebrations, explained how the centre attracted wide spread attention with visitors coming from far and wide to learn about how dementia support can be delivered with social care as the lead. So what was all the fuss about? Well Pinfold was a truly multi-agency approach. There were strong connections with social work teams but also with specialist mental health consultants so the service felt seamless. Consultant Doctors would pop in to check on customers whilst they were at Pinfold – it was better for everyone to do it as part of the service rather than separately. The whole thing was totally joined up so there were no gaps for customers and carers to fall through. Everyone pulled together to get the right solution for the people who mattered the most.
Interestingly the recruitment approach used then is something that Persona have recently returned to – recruiting for attitude and values and teaching the skills for the job. You can teach the right person how to do the job, but it takes a really special person to support people living with dementia as it requires endless patience and empathy as well as a good sense of humour and compassion. Staff remember to this day the specialist training that they completed from a leading professor on dementia, Tom Kitwood.
It was fantastic to see so many staff past and present taking part in the celebrations. They shared their memories of working in the team. They felt it was something unique – a real camaraderie between colleagues to get the best outcome for the people they supported. Often it didn’t feel like a job. One staff member said it felt just like a family. They talked about the trips and activities they shared in with customers – the moments when it goes so perfectly right and the times where you have to improvise to keep things on track. No two days the same. Enjoying simple pleasures in life – whatever they may be for each individual.
Carers shared their thoughts too – Tom talked about how important the centre was in giving him the time and space he needed to keep caring for his wife. Paul described the impact Pinfold has on his wife Sue saying, "her face lights up when you talk about Pinfold".
It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of the birthday celebrations organised by the current manager, Anna Craig and her team. The event included a visit from the Mayor, a fabulous buffet, a fun dress up photo booth and a singer who got everyone up on their feet. A magical day where everyone took the opportunity to celebrate the difference the team at Pinfold make to so many people’s lives. Thank you Pinfold Lane.