Registered Manager and Deputy Manager Tracey Power and Suzanne Ward, who will be leading the team at Kedleston's newest children's home, Dovedale House in Buxton, are a powerful combination.
“We have the same ethos and same values, absolutely,” Tracey says. “The love and the care and support is unconditional from us. And we want every day to be fun. Children, whatever has happened in their past and whatever they are dealing with, should be able to have fun.”
“Tracey and I go way back,” Suzanne says. “We both used to work at a different company, both left, and I was really excited to be working with Tracey again. This time, because it’s Kedleston, the support is there. If a company doesn’t look after the staff, of course that impacts on the kids. So knowing our team are supported makes this a great experience for us both.”
Tracey seemed destined to be a children’s home manager. Her warmth, energy and ability to reach out to and connect with children in challenging circumstances meant that her house became a magnet for youngsters when her own children were growing up. She says:
“I’m Mum to four kids but it felt like 400. Our house was full of kids. The kids who didn’t get breakfast at home, would get it at mine, the kids who didn’t get a family holiday came on ours. My nickname was Tracey million kids and I thought about fostering but of course we had no spare room. So that’s how I got into care, first with crisis intervention and then I worked in Outdoor pursuits for five years.
“You’ve got have a sense of humour in this job. Suzanne and I laugh all the time and George, whose a team leader here at Dovedale, he is hilarious. His humour can defuse any situation. Kids just love him. You’ve got to be thick-skinned and resilient but most of all, you have to be passionate. If you don’t have the passion, the job can be tough and kids pick up on that."
"At Kedleston, from the Chief Executive down, everyone has been amazing, there is phenomenal support. Clare, who organised a six-week full-time training programme for the whole team, Gillian who is Kedleston’s Head of Care and Chris who is the Regional Children’s Homes Manager, they’ve just given us the best of the best for the kids in terms of support, training and the home itself."
Like Tracey, Suzanne is a born care manager. She says,
“I brought three kids up on my own, but I was a bit of a mother hen to a lot of the local kids, the ones who were being bullied, or left out, or where home wasn’t a fun place to be a lot of the time. I’d have loved to have fostered, but we didn’t have space so care is brilliant for me. I absolutely love it. Now mine have all grown up and the third grandchild is on the way, so it’s a way for me to be surrounded by children and do what I’m good at, which is giving them lots of love, helping them develop the skills that they're going to need when they leave us and have fun.”
The Peak District is a fantastic place to live and wonderful environment for children with so much to do on the doorstep. Dovedale’s House’s activities co-ordinator is a keen climber and hiker and will be aiming to inspire a lifelong love of the outdoors in the children at Dovedale. Within the care team under Tracey is a farmer’s wife, an equine therapy practitioner and two sports coaches, so the children will have lots of opportunity to be active, try new things and develop their skills.
Tracey says, “I’ve lived in the Peaks since I was a teenager and raised my own family here. Now we’re looking forward to welcoming children to Dovedale and helping them settle, find their feet. develop the skills they need to move on and feel completely at home.”