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A day in the life of a Helping Hands branch manager

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Posted on 11th July 2017.
Jacqueline Fairbrother, Plymouth Branch Manager

Jacqueline, Branch Manager for Plymouth

Hello! I’m Jacqueline Fairbrother, Branch Manager for Helping Hands in Plymouth. I’ve lived in Plymouth for the last 40 years, after growing up in Hooe with my family. For the last 24 years, I’ve worked as a carer and have worked in a variety of roles throughout that time.

I feel privileged to be able to open the Plymouth Branch of Helping Hands and wanted to share what a typical day looks like.

Monday 10th July 2017

7am– I open my laptop and start to write this blog. I am always up early and raring to go in the morning. Before going to work I walk several miles with my two lovely dogs, Buster and Sophie and today is no exception. I walk the dogs along the beach every day without fail, I feel it really set’s me up for my day ahead! I love getting out and about especially by the sea in Plymouth, breathing in all the fresh air in before I start work.

8am– I leave my house and drive the four or so miles from my home to our wonderful office in Mutley Plain. We have a fantastic little Helping Hands’ car that you will see me driving around, during the week. The car is fantastic, it allows my carers and I the ability to get to all of the towns and villages that we serve in and around Plymouth.

8.30am– I open the office, turn on the lights and my computer and set up ready for the day ahead. Our offices are open from 8.30am until 5.30pm, it’s a great space to spend the day and we enjoy welcoming people popping in to see us throughout the day.

9am– I catch up on any emails that may have come through overnight. My main focus (as well as other things) for Monday mornings is to make sure everything is ready for our Plymouth carer team meeting, which happens a little later in the day.

9.45am– A couple of potential customers walk in, enquiring about our care packages. Being a high street branch with a pavement presence and being able to interact directly with potential customers is something completely new to me, but I really enjoy it. Today I managed to give away some leaflets and pens to prospective customers.

10.30am– At least once a week we hold a meeting for all of our carers. This is an opportunity for us all to get together and discuss the week ahead, any assistance that may be needed – or additional training, it’s really important to me that our carers feel supported and part of a team. We have a really bright and bubbly group of carers and the team spirit is something that makes coming to work a real joy for us all.

Today we discussed plans for Christmas (yes, we do think about these things this early!) and who will look after our stand in a local supermarket in a few weeks. We had lots of volunteers, as you can imagine!

11am– Once our team meeting has finished, it’s time for me to complete the rotas for the coming week. Continuity is incredibly important to our customers, so we do our up most to ensure that we keep our carers and customer consistent, especially when they have developed a rapport. During this time, I make a few phone calls. I like to check in with our customers to make sure everything is okay and that they are happy with the service that my team provides. This hour normally flies by, it’s really essential to make sure all our branch’s hours are planned out for the rest of the week and our carers know ahead of time what their schedule looks like.

Jacqueline out in Plymouth

Jacqueline visits customers each week

12pm– I head off to meet up with a couple of local businesses to discuss new opportunities. There are loads of fantastic businesses in Plymouth of all shapes and sizes. I am a big believer that we can all help each other in one way or another, building relationships is really important. I also feel that I can add value to our customer’s experiences. If I learn of other businesses that will be beneficial to our customers, I am more than happy to signpost them. This is also the time in the day where I regret wearing heels whilst I walk around Plymouth, but it’s all worthwhile, I love what I do.

2pm–I usually stop for my lunch around 2pm. Today it’s a sandwich I’ve made at home, today I’ve eaten at my desk. I don’t mind as it’s a welcome relief from walking around in my heels!

3pm– We deliver our award-winning carer training every month in branch to a group of between 10-15 local people. Our expert local regional trainer Glyn, who’s also from Plymouth, works closely with our carers for a week to deliver the training that they need to be able to competently look after our customers. I pop my head in to welcome the group and wish them all the best for training. I have interviewed most of them all already, but I like to keep showing my face and building up that rapport with any new carers. I normally drop them in some cakes or ice creams if the weather is nice!

4pm– Today I have a new customer assessment, the appointment is over in Tavistock. We look after customers in a 20-30 minute radius of our branch. All of our assessments are confidential and we operate within very strict guidelines. During the meeting I assess the customer and their individual needs. I answer any questions the customer and the family may have at the time, to give them reassurance and peace of mind that we’ll take care of their loved one as they would.

5pm– I arrive back at the office at 5pm and check back in with my Care Co-ordinator who has been in charge of the office during my absence. I check through all of my emails and answer anything urgent before making sure our phones have been diverted to my mobile – I hate to miss any calls from our customers or carers that may be important and need immediate assistance. Once I’m happy that everything is in order, I turn off the lights and lock up for the day.

That’s it! Another fantastic day in branch has flown by. I really do love my job and I’m so pleased that I am able to bring Helping Hands to Plymouth.

If you would like to discuss anything further with myself directly, whether that’s with regards to care for a friend or a dear loved one you can contact me in one of the following ways:

By email –

In Person – 75 Mutley Plain, Plymouth, PL4 6JJ

Online – Learn more about the Plymouth branch

Jacqueline Fairbrother,

Plymouth Branch Manager

Sally Tomkotowicz