Park Place’s new village manager is no stranger to the Lincolnshire retirement village, Louise Smith has worked as a financial administrator at the village for six years before entering her new role.
Now it’s been a couple of months into her new role, we asked Louise a few questions to find out more.
Why is working in this sector important to you?
“The residents here are very independent. But I feel I have a duty where I can make sure they’re happy and safe in their surroundings. I am determined to keep loneliness at bay by making sure they have plenty of friends around them, they’re entertained and they’re having a good retirement in general!”
What attracted you to Retirement Villages?
“I’ve just completely fallen in love with the place and everything that the Retirement Villages Group stand for. There’s a huge community value which provides residents with really good opportunities in their retirement.
And as an employer, they’re a very supportive company with good levels of training and progression. This is simply the best job I’ve ever had – I don’t want to work anywhere else!”
What skills do you have that lends itself well to your role as Village Manager?
“I’ve had a lot of dealings with customer services which has made me an excellent communicator. I’m also great with organisation as well as negotiation – so should any issues arise I am able to work to get the best solution for both parties.”
What do you enjoy about your new role?
“I love being the voice for people, it’s nice to be that person that residents can rely on. I frequently have a walk around the village, so they know I’m there. All in all, it’s a very rewarding job.”
What are the main benefits you feel residents gain from living within your community?
“To sum it up, friendship, safety and security. Residents love taking part in a strong variety of activities from tennis clubs to choirs – they’re not what you expect typical retirees to be!”
Tell us about your staff and how they support you?
“Everyone has been so supportive and accommodating – including the residents! If there’s anything I’m not sure of, I know I can be given the advice or training I need.”
Tell us a little about you personally.
“With two young children I maintain a good work-life balance. My family and I enjoy a variety of activities including fresh water fishing, visiting the beach, biking, visiting zoos – and I like to bake too!
My daughter has visited the village and she loves it, especially when we have the village fetes. It’s great to work somewhere with a strong family environment – residents often bring in their grandchildren and they love seeing other kids in the village too.”
What are you looking forward to in the future?
“We have a fantastic residential home and a nursing home which covers a wide criterion. The residential home has an excellent understanding of dementia too and all sorts of specialisms. But I’m hoping to introduce greater integration between the care homes and the other properties.
This may be by holding entertainment at the care homes, cake and coffee mornings and anything to increase the sense of community. Everyone at Park Place deserves to feel like the whole village is theirs, even if they aren’t aware just yet!”