Southend on Sea Darby & Joan Organisation

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Southend on Sea Darby & Joan Organisation is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

CEO Michelle Rogers
Dementia garden, a
comforting space
Registered as a charity since 1949, The Southend-on-Sea
Darby & Joan Organisation Ltd is based in Westcliff-on-
Sea and provides care to the elderly, with a particular
specialism in helping individuals living with dementia, as 69 per
cent of their residents currently live with this. The organisation’s
aim is to provide the best-possible care and attention in a
friendly and informal atmosphere. They pride themselves on the
homely atmosphere, something they take great care to maintain
in both of their care homes. They also stress the importance of
ensuring staff are happy, well-trained and supported. These are
just some of the topics that CEO Michelle Rogers expands upon.
Our origins lie in the post-war period, as we were founded in 1946 with the sole
purpose of caring for the elderly. Over time, the organisation became increasingly
known and valued by people in the community. It was because of this that we had
property bequeathed to us by a local family. By managing this situation shrewdly,
we have reached our current state, with two well provisioned homes, caring for
elderly people from all over Southend, Essex and London Boroughs.
Relaxation in a friendly environment
Integral to our ethos is the creation of a warm, friendly and informal atmosphere.
It’s only in circumstances of this kind that the residents we care for can achieve
a sense of ease and wellbeing. This is especially important for those living with
»CEO: Michelle Rogers
»Founded in 1946
»Located in Westcliff-on-Sea
»Services: Care home
»No. of employees: 63
»The founder of the
organisation, which was
originally known as ‘The
Southend on Sea Council For
The Welfare of Elderly People’,
was Edward Cecil Jones, a
local philanthropist
The Southend-on-Sea
Darby & Joan Organisation
Highlighting best practice
dementia, as their existing confusion
and anxiety can be compounded by
an unpleasantly alien environment.
Getting the environment right is
therefore more than just an additional
detail; it’s a central and critical
component of ourservice.
In terms of improving our environment,
we were awarded funding from the
Department of Health to create a
dementia garden, which, as evidence
has shown, can have a very positive
impact on lives. In addition to this, we
are upgrading the properties’ interiors
in line with best-practice developments
taking place across the sector.
An example of our commitment to
continue to educate on Dementia is
our recently implemented “Dementia
Friends” sessions. Working in
partnership with Dementia Friends
Champions, we aim to increase
understanding of dementia among
staff and relatives to enable them to
support residents on what is often a
very difficult journey. Furthermore, in
addition to bringing the community
into the homes we believe that
residents should be free to continue to
experience the outside world as much
as possible, despite their move into a
care home. As part of this approach,
we support them to access local parks
cafés and other community activities.
This latter initiative has resulted in a lot
of positive feedback for us.
The environment should also be
pleasant for our staff. Making sure
they are happy will ensure they
perform their duties with greater
enthusiasm, thereby also helping
those we care for. Whenever
circumstances permit, we seek to
increase pay, improve skills, put in
place incentive schemes and improve
their surroundings. By investing in our
staff like this, we let them know that
they are valued.
Training, of course, is particularly
necessary for supporting those who
live with dementia. The issues posed
by dementia are both challenging
and unique. One is not born with a
knowledge of how to handle these
Some of the team at
Darby & Joan
Registered Manager
Jackie Lim with resident
of St Martins
An example of
to continue to
educate on
Dementia is
our recently
situations; it requires proper and
concentrated training. It’s a skill we
cannot afford to do without.
Difficulties in the sector
Politically speaking, there are
challenges. Brexit, for example, means
that the pool of talent available to us
has shrunk. As a sector, it’s important
that immigration rules after Brexit
don’t make it difficult for people from
abroad to work in this field.
Broadly speaking, there is a crisis in the
social care sector, and government is
being too slow to address it. The social
care green paper, for example, has
been delayed – which suggests that
the problem is too low down on the
government’s priority list. Too often, it
feels like we are the forgotten sector,
not least because the people working
in it are unfairly deemed “lower
skilled”. The fact is that the challenges
in this sector are huge, and the people
who work in it are working far beyond
their pay grade.
A better future for the elderly
Looking forward, we as an
organisation plan to continue evolving
while embracing change. We expect
that as the sector moves into the
future, many important changes (not
least technological ones) will change
the care landscape. We, of course,
will ensure we stay up to date in this
regard. It’s also important to note that
with an ageing society, we can expect
greater numbers of people being
diagnosed with dementia. Services
like ours will become increasingly
needed, and we will always seek to
play whatever role we can to help.
However, although things will change,
there will be much that stays the
same – namely, our goal of creating
a dementia-friendly home while
developing and supporting our staff
to provide our residents with the best
possible care. The outcome of all of
these efforts is, we hope, that we have
a genuinely positive impact on our
residents’ lives.
speaking, there
is a crisis in the
social care
sector, and
government is
being too slow
to address it
Residents enjoy activity
with one of our activity

This article was sponsored by Southend on Sea Darby & Joan Organisation. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.