Recruiting the Best People for Presbyterian Church Nursing Homes

A recent Presbyterian Church community recruitment initiative for care aides, team leaders and other positions exceeded expectations when it filled 70% of vacancies.

The Council for Social Witness (CSW), the social arm of the church, manages the day-to-day provision of housing, nursing, supported housing, respite care and day care, as well as a number of community programs.

This includes Aaron House, a care home for 14 people with profound learning disabilities, on the large Ballybeen estate in east Belfast.

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The Irish Presbyterian Church is a major social care provider caring for over 300 people in its area

Aaron House also has a day care center, with respite care facilities.

Reverend David Brice, Facilitator of the Social Witness Council, explains, “For organizations like the Presbyterian Church and others that provide a wide range of professional social care, the past few years have been difficult. It has been difficult for the system and those who work within it.

“An ongoing challenge is to attract new people into the care profession, so we had to come up with a different approach for Aaron House, which has been part of the Ballybeen community since it opened in 1995.”

After trying traditional advertising methods to recruit, Mr. Brice said they wanted to make a specific effort in the local community.

“It was not easy, but it took time and effort. We distributed flyers to over 1,000 homes on the estate to inform people about Aaron House and the local job opportunities available right on their doorstep.

“Fortunately, the community responded.”

Mr Brice added: ‘The leaflet, which listed the benefits of working at Aaron House, including a £500 monetary ‘welcome bonus’ – and an invitation to a special recruitment day at the local community centre.

“If we had two or three people, we would have been satisfied, but we were able to fill eleven vacancies, which was beyond our expectations.

“For a quarter of a century, Aaron House in Ballybeen has been home to incredible people, who are supported by an incredibly dedicated team of people.

“Some of the staff team have been there since it opened and, along with their colleagues, continue to go the extra mile for the people they care for.”

“In all of our Presbyterian homes, we seek to provide care in a specifically Christian ethos and environment, but you don’t have to be a Christian to work for us or be cared for by us.

“As a church, and as individual Christians however, we are called to demonstrate Jesus’ love for people,” Brice said.

“It means putting our faith into practical action and simple Christian care, which we seek to do in every home we run. It is a powerful social witness to the Gospel.

Since the formation of the Presbyterian Society of Orphans and Children in 1866, the church has played a key role in meeting people’s physical needs. This continues, through its homes and support units, its community projects and the work of its congregations on the ground across Ireland.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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