Meet the team
Gillian Manning is a franchisee and Co-Director of the business. She and John are life partners as well as business partners.
Gillian is a qualified solicitor with many years experience in social welfare law, including employment, discrimination and welfare benefits. It was her background in working with people with disabilities which led her into the care business.
She also sits as a Judge on the Disability Appeal Tribunal, deciding appeals in relation to disability benefits.
She has achieved the NVQ level 4 Registered Managers Award, enabling her to perform the Care Manager's role if the need should arise.
Gareth is a franchisee and Co-Director of the business, and the eldest son of Gillian.
Starting his career as a software engineer for civilian and military applications, he gained a solid grounding in process design which has been invaluable in identifying efficient business practices.
Deciding in 1997 that he was more of a 'people person', Gareth made his hobby a full-time occupation and became a professional martial arts instructor, teaching Karate and Aikido in Bristol, Swindon and Cheltenham. He still teaches classes in Cheltenham.
The diagnosis of a close family member with Vascular Dementia brought the Care Industry to Gareth's attention in 2007, and in 2008 he joined the family business. Since then he has worked within Bluebird Care as a Care Worker, Care Coordinator, Manual Handling Trainer, and most recently Director.
He sees his role as having responsibilty for Customers and Care Workers alike, and devotes a significant portion of his time to improving the welfare of everyone involved with Bluebird Care.
John’s career spanned 32 years in the pharmaceutical industry, culminating in a position as Director of Production for a well-known multinational. Gained while working in the UK, Europe and India, John's pharmaceutical background is extremely useful in understanding the medication being taken by our customers, and in professional discussions with healthcare professionals.
John also has a strong interest in health and safety, and has the Diploma in Safety Management. His expertise feeds into our health and safety and risk assessment processes and training, and contributes to the safety of staff and customers. He also has primary responsibility for the business finances.
John says everything we do from care assessment and planning through to staff recruitment, training and management is underpinned by the simple vision “all of our customers should be looked after with the same care and concern that we would want for our own loved ones”.
Debbie has been with us since July 2014.
Gaining her first experience of care when she began to help out her parents' older friends while on holiday, Debbie moved on quickly to working in a residential home for older people as soon as she left school. Finding great satisfaction in organising outings and even holidays for the residents, she took on a position in a day centre, where she could exercise her creativity in pursuing art and craft activities, organising stimulating trips and memorable fundrasising events.
Debbie used her experience to gain a position as a Day Care Officer, supporting young adults through very difficult times by providing therapies and classes which helped them develop mechanisms and strategies to deal with mental health issues. She continued shine, working as a Manager responsible for a busy Domiciliary Care Service for people with Dementia, and an Outreach Centre for young adults with mental health problems. She was proud to have influenced and shaped a team which was able to provide a service based on respect and trust.
Bluebird Care is her first experience of working in the private sector. She is enjoying the challenge of coming into an established team and being able to develop good working relationships with the directors and other team members.
Debbie says, "I like the core values the business was founded on. I find it very rewarding to be able to recruit and train staff, which enables me to continue my passion for providing an excellent service to those who need it most"
Recruitment Liason & Dementia Lead
After spending time focusing on caring for her children while they were small, Donna initially trained as a hairdresser, and later studied to progress from volunteering at her daughter's primary school to becoming a teaching assistant. Because of experiences within her family, Donna decided that she would like to become a mental health nurse, and took a job as medical receptionist to gain experience of the health service. Her plans were derailed by damage to her pancreas due to Type 1 Diabetes, which led to her needing a transplant. She was then unable to work for a period of time, but continued volunteering, as a Beaver Scout Leader, and with the All Golds Academy rugby league.
Donna never lost her desire to work in a caring capacity, and when she was well enough to return to paid work, she came to Bluebird Care as a Care Assistant in July 2013, She immediately showed a natural aptitude for care work, having empathy with customers and their families, and meticulous attention to detail.
Donna was promoted to part-time Support Supervisor after only a year, and became a full-time Supervisor not long after that. She has proven herself to be an asset to the office team. Due to her natural empathy, and supportive nature, she has now been given responsibility for recruitment of Care Assistants, from applications for employment through to successful completion of the 12 week probationary period, with ongoing support with study for qualifications, when needed.
Donna also has a special interest in dementia. She has already attended a 2-day training course in Managing Memory Together, and has qualified as a dementia trainer to deliver our in-house staff training. At the end of a 5-month course of study starting in January 2017, she will be officially recognised by Gloucestershire County Council as a Dementia Leader.
Dominique trained and qualified as a Social Worker, gaining a university degree in Health and Social Care. She worked for several years in the N.H.S. engaging and supporting patients throughout their stay.
In order to fit in with her family commitments, she re-trained as an accountant, achieving the highest possible standard in her A.A.T. qualifications.
She says, "It is gratifying to be able to use both of my professional skills within one company. I enjoy working as part of a close, effective team. We all pull together to ensure the business runs as smoothly as possible, delivering the highest quality of care."
Dominique sees her role as vital to the success of Bluebird Care, ensuring customers' accounts are accurate and easy to understand, and that carers and suppliers are paid correctly and in a timely fashion. She believes that it is important to be accessible to everybody, and is always happy to help with any enquiries.
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