Leonard Cheshire Disability in Agnes Court in Banbury is celebrating a trio of landmark moments this year: one hundred years since the birth of its founder; ten years since building work at Agnes Court began and the tireless work of its service manager who will retire at the end of the month.
Sue Northcott has been with the home since its inception and has worked with the charity for the past 15 years.
What started out as some part-time nursing work at its previous Adderbury location rapidly burgeoned into a career.
Sue now effectively runs the 24-bed home for people between 18 and 65 years of age with physical disabilities but is modest about her role within the charity.
Sue said: “It was just a matter of the need being there. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Mike Willis, director of operations for Leonard Cheshire southern area, said of Sue’s departure and work: “She’ll leave a huge gap, this is her home. She moved from Green Hill House to here, she set the standards here, our Care Quality Commission rating is good and that’s something to applaud in this day and age.
“Sue is the one who oversees all aspects of the services we offer in this home. I’m sure if you speak to any of the residents here they will tell you how much they value Sue’s guidance and input.”
It is indeed the residents that have and remain Sue’s passion and how enabling them to accomplish everyday tasks has brought her the most satisfaction.
She said: “Everybody has a pendant which they can have around their neck and they can go into their rooms, press the button on the pendant and it closes the door, press the button and it opens the door.
“When we first moved here, it was a lot of hard work doing all the preparation for moving in but on the day we moved in, and I will never forget, a lady of about 40-odd, she said to me ‘that’s the first time in my life that I’ve been able to close my own door. I thought that isn’t a lot to ask but it made it all so worth while.”
Although holding the position of service manager, Sue can be found doing whatever is needed to keep the facility running smoothly, from fixing troublesome toilets to undertaking nursing duties but there is one aspect of her job she will not miss.
Sue said: “I definitely will not miss the paperwork, there’s a lot of paperwork.”
She plans to spend her retirement being a grandmother but is not severing all ties to Leonard Cheshire as she will help out on an ad hoc basis when needed.
Sue said; “ I’m not letting go completely, not quite.”