21 October 2019
A home from home with Michael Burke – Regional Director
It has been a significantly full and fast first year for me, having joined Hallmark Care Homes in September 2018, the past year has flown by, but it has been a really delightful career move for me. Joining a family business is, in many ways, like coming home for me.
Since starting, I have been lucky to be involved in the growth of Hallmark. The opening of Arlington Manor in Cambridge was a huge success closely followed by the grand opening of Banstead Manor in Surrey. It is wonderful to see this progress and to witness the Hallmark flag flying high in 11 locations in England. Henley Manor opens later this year followed by Hutton View in April 2020. Being part of this growing development is an amazing privilege and I am proud to be part of this exciting time.
Having worked with older people since 2002, making a move to Hallmark Care Homes was the best decision I have made. Each day brings another occasion to learn and the past 12 months has been a great learning opportunity, meeting so many talented team members, highly motivated and experienced General Managers, Head of Department leaders but, above all, some of the most inspirational residents.
During the past few years I kept my watchful eye on Hallmark, seeing them win awards for design and innovation relating to Care. Secretly, I always wanted to be part of the organisation having been inspired by the significant progress that has been achieved over 22 years.
To be part of something very special and leading edge, is something I truly value. For me, it is not only about winning awards that has attracted me, but when you talk to the residents and their families, they talk so favourably about the empowerment of the team, who go above and beyond to deliver exemplary relationship-centred care. That is what really matters.
As a child, I grew up with my grandparents being a very big part of our family life. We lived with one set of grandparents, being there to help “nana” and “granddad” was part of my daily routine from an early age. I enjoyed enormously the time spent as a child listening to their stories, learning about their rich history and the values that they held dear to them. Their involvement had a deep lasting impact on shaping me as a person and today, when I look back on the time I spent with my grandparents, I can truly say that I had four of the best teachers who have all given me “their lessons in life” that have enriched my beliefs and values.
My role as Regional Director for England is to lead, support and mentor our General Managers and their teams, to deliver relationship-centred care and to continue to build on the success that has been established over 22 years. Helping others seems to come naturally to me and I get a great sense of fulfilment from seeing others achieving their goals whilst being part of the Hallmark family.
I was born in South Africa to English parents and would spend most summers back in England and Wales. My younger days were shared between these two parts of the UK, much like the Hallmark family which is made up of two halves, the English side of Hallmark and the Welsh side of Hallmark, where it all started.
At the age of 20 I decided that my heart was always in England and I made the move from South Africa. I was followed by others in the family who joined me in the UK over the years. For me, settling down and making my home in the UK was easy when soon after arriving I met my future wife, Beatriz. Over 30 years later we have shared so much including bringing up our son Eric who has recently graduated from Bristol University with a law degree.
My years of experience gained whilst working for an international quality leading care company have given me a superb platform to be in a position to support others in achieving success.
My commitment as a Regional Director is for the team to be able to do the best job possible. We work in this special sector where we can help and care for others and I feel especially privileged to be part of residents’ lives at their time of need. Supporting team members to be the best gives me a huge sense of achievement and it gives me immense pleasure seeing teams achieve success. Particularly when we see residents benefitting from the rich and meaningful programs we run in our homes.
What makes Hallmark Care Homes special for me is our Charter, which really enhances the way in which we deliver the commitment to our teams up and down the country. When we gather at meetings, I encourage the team to share stories of how we live our Charter, how we breathe life into the wonderful words and how we see them impacting the residents, the team and the community in which we operate.
It is so fulfilling when I receive letters of gratitude from families who take the time to write individual letters of thanks for the kindness, care and compassion our team members give to the residents we serve.
Caring is a service from the heart and it is the wonderful work our team members do that makes us great. Sometimes the little extras make a big difference and we say thank you with deep meaning. During the last year, we have introduced Charter Cheques into the organisation and within a short period of time it is wonderful to see how well this has been received. Team members, fellow colleagues, and family members can issue a Charter Cheque to anyone who goes above and beyond in their duties for a resident or fellow team member. – (a picture of one)
Our work continues and I am proud to work with an amazing team of people who share the values of this great organisation, I look forward to always doing my best to serve others.