Caring for Wanstead

Cambridge Nursing HomeCambridge Nursing Home

Cambridge Nursing Home in Wanstead is set to become a community hub following a radical transformation. Jason Hesse reports.

Family-run Cambridge Nursing Home currently looks after 49 service users from across the area and is already a local champion, as Tayvanie Nagendran, the care home's operations director, explains: "We have always tried to play a role in the local area – we welcome volunteers from local colleges, employ local tradesmen and support the local community. But we want to do more."

From April 2012, the care home will welcome the public into its new activity centre, which will house an internet resource room, library, training room, hair salon and spa, with most services free to use. The centre's training room will also be used to provide NVQs and diplomas, also open to the general public.

Training is an important part of the care home which, unlike many other homes, refuses to employ agency staff. "We don't use agency staff. It isn't our policy to do so and we never have done. It's been a conscious decision – we prefer to train our staff in-house and leverage our management staff's expertise," comments Tayvanie.

Most of the care home's staff – 40 employees – have worked for the family business for years. "Many of our nurses started off as trainees and have since completed their qualifications on-the-job," she continues. "The home houses the Centre for Health and Social Care Qualifications, a registered City & Guilds centre, as well as having links with the University of Hertfordshire, the University of Buckinghamshire and the Open University, which gives us the opportunity to train our staff formally."

Local school children and college students also volunteer at the home, gaining valuable experience in the care sector, as well as fulfilling their Duke of Edinburgh Award commitments. "It is so important for local children to be offered opportunities in their local area, and we want to play a part," says Tayvanie, a former Duke of Edinburgh participant herself. "Many of the college students are hopeful medical students, so volunteering at our home gives them an extra boost when applying for university." The new activity centre will facilitate this, giving the volunteers better resources to interact with service users as well as people from the local community.

Cambridge Nursing Home operates an open-door policy, where visitors are encouraged to come regularly, even if just for five minutes. "Because the majority of our service users are from north and north-east London, most visitors come to the home every day," says Tayvanie. "By improving the facilities, we hope the home will become even more welcoming, and encourage visitors to do more with the service users."

While Tayvanie admits that the changes in the care home have been disruptive for staff, service users and visitors, she hopes the positive outcomes and better service will make it worthwhile. "I really want to thank all the staff for all their support. They're part of the fabric of the home, what makes Cambridge Nursing Home special. We really want to help as many people in the community as possible, whether they're service users or locals. These are exciting times for Wanstead," she concludes.

Cambridge Nursing Home is located at 61 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11 2PR. For more information, call 020 8989 1175 or visit

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