Interview with Andrew Waterfield – Fire Fighters Charity
Our latest interview in our Q&A series is with Andrew Waterfield, Estates and Facilities Manager at the Fire Fighters Charity’s Jubilee House in the Lake District.
Jubilee House is a special place for The Children’s Burns Trust, as it’s where we hold a number of our Family Weekends, where children and families are supported by burn care professionals including Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Play Specialists and Psychologists over the course of a weekend (see the round-up of our latest family weekend here).
How long have you been working with the Fire Fighters Charity?
Just over 11 years, I joined the Charity in May 2007.
What would a “normal” day look like to you? What does your day to day routine comprise?
Managing the facilities and the grounds there is normally a ‘challenge’ each day, with such a big site. Rarely do we not have a breakdown somewhere, but we have an experienced team on site and a list of contractors, so we normally get things fixed quickly. Otherwise the health and safety element is significant and we need to ensure we keep our guests safe, many of whom can be vulnerable, such as our nursing clients. We are registered with the Care Quality Commission so there are rigorous standards to maintain.
We are in reality a 40-bed hotel and catering operation as well as a rehab centre with 3 pools, gym and fitness centre. We also have 15 houses in our 10 acre estate. This takes a lot of managing but working with our clientele from the fire and rescue service makes this a pleasure.
What services do you offer, and to whom, at Jubilee House?
We offer physical and psychological rehabilitation as well as the option for a recuperative break after an operation or trauma for example. Our beneficiaries are members of the UK Fire & Rescue Service and their dependants (normally their spouse or partner). We also work two weekends a year with the Children’s Burns Trust.
How many staff do you have and what roles do they do?
We employ approximately 50 staff from a variety of disciplines. On the clinical side we have Physiotherapists, Exercise Therapists, Rehab Assistants, Nurses and Clinical Assistants and in the Estates department we have Chefs, Catering Assistants, Housekeepers, Security, Administration and Maintenance.
How long does a beneficiary of your programme normally stay?
Stays are for 4, 5 or 6 days depending on various factors. People all have full their own ensuite rooms and all their meals are provided. Their rooms are laundered every day.
Children’s Burns Trust has worked with the Fire Fighters Charity for many years to provide Family Weekends – how have you been involved with these weekends?
They had just started when l joined the Charity and we look forward to them every year. We have got to know the Children’s Burns Trust and the staff from the hospitals well over the years and now it runs seamlessly. The success of the programme at Jubilee House encouraged us to introduce them to our site at Marine Court in Sussex, so we can also help those individual and families based in the south of the UK.
There is a real buzz seeing how the children especially enjoy the weekend and how much the parents get out of it. The feedback in the post visit reports is excellent. We look forward to the weekends as it represents a break from our normal routine.
The staff at Jubilee are always extremely helpful and nothing ever seems too much trouble during our weekends. Do you often operate over weekends?
Yes, we are open 24/7 so working at weekends is normal for us. We also offer bed and breakfast and holiday lets in our houses in the grounds, so we normally have beneficiaries on site all the time. We only close for the Christmas and New Year break.
Do you have a favourite part/activity that takes place over the family weekend?
Walking with Llamas! We were not sure how this would work when first introduced a number of years ago, but the families love it so it has become a fixture. The children in particular are great to watch as they overcome their initial doubts and lead the llamas around the grounds.
See the round-up of our latest family weekend here.