Caring pair mark 70 years' combined service

Moorlands Court Melbourn's Denise Taylor and Julie Manning

Moorlands Court Extra Care manager Denise Taylor with team leader Julie Manning. Both have celebrated huge milestones working at the Melbourn site, 40 years and 30 years respectively. - Credit: Moorlands Court Extra Care manager Denise Taylor

Two staff members at Moorlands Court in Melbourn have clocked up a combined  70 years' service - and celebrated the milestone with a glass of bubbly. 

Denise Taylor and Julie Manning started what was then a care home - a transformation that was completed in 2008 saw 'new Moorlands' become an 'extra care' scheme with 35 self-contained flats.

When a 16-year-old schoolgirl started her first shift as a part time weekend carer at Moorlands back in 1981 she couldn't have imagined she'd still be there 40 years later - as the manager, no less. 

Moorlands Court Extra Care manager Denise Taylor

Moorlands Court Extra Care manager Denise Taylor - Credit: Moorlands Court

Denise Taylor worked part time at Moorlands - run by CHS group - while on a pre-nursing course at Cambridge Regional College.

When her course finished in 1983, she began working at the Old Mill Road Hospital in Cambridge as an auxiliary nurse, but realised her role at Moorlands gave her much more of a challenge.

She was providing hands-on care as well as specific nursing tasks, and decided to take a full-time position at Moorlands with on-the-job training and then return to nursing at a later date.

She said: “I only lasted two weeks at the hospital because I loved Moorlands so much!”

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Denise met her husband and started a family and found that care work provided her with a perfect work/life balance so she continued, and in 1993 she became assistant manager. By 2001 she was offered the manager role.

Within a year of being in the post, Denise managed to gain a coveted 3* making Moorlands Court the highest rating the CQC grant. 

She recalled the day the new Moorlands opened in 2008 - how she "walked all the residents from the old building into the new purpose-built building" and remembered "all the emotions that day held".

She said the lifts didn’t work - neither did the front doors -  and that she worked until almost midnight to make sure everyone was moved in and comfortable.  

The night before the old building was demolished the staff planned a ghost hunting party.  

Denise said: "it was such a fun night and one of the lasting memories of that night was being told to stand perfectly still and quite in one of the old bedrooms and to listen."

She said she "almost fainted" when someone jumped out of the wardrobe to scare her.  

Moorlands' Carol Bailey said: "Things have certainly changed during her time but the drive and determination is still as strong as ever and we hope she will carry on for many years to come."

Julie Manning started at the home on a work experience placement while studying childcare at CRC. 

Moorlands Court team leader Julie Manning

Moorlands Court team leader Julie Manning - Credit: Moorlands Court 

Her chosen career path took a detour when the country went in recession in the early 1990s and finding a childcare job proved harder than anticipated. However, Moorlands snapped her up. 

Julie said that "the laughter and fun the residents had in the old Moorlands was joyous and she never ever had the feeling of not wanting to come to work". 

Now-manager Denise was a care assistant on maternity leave at the time so the pair didn’t meet for a few months. When they did, the two ladies became friends which has continued to this day.  

By the late 1990s Julie had trained as an NVQ assessor and was responsible for the in-house training of all the staff, alongside Denise. The pair were the first two staff members to gain their NVQ level 2. 

Julie continued as a care assistant and worked a permanent night shift pattern for five years, before going back to conventional hours. 

As Denise progressed with the company, she tried on many occasions to persuade Julie to become a team leader - and her perseverance paid off five years ago when Julie was promoted to the role.

She said it was "her fear of all things IT that prevented her from doing it sooner, but realised it wasn’t as bad as she feared".

Carol Bailey said: "Julie is a well respected and valued member of staff, who - if sliced in half - would have 'Moorlands' running through her like a stick of Blackpool rock.

"Moorlands and CHS Group are extremely lucky to have Julie here and I know the tenants here are all grateful for her care and commitment to them.

"Congratulations Julie on your 30 years - what an achievement."

Moorlands Court Melbourn's Denise Taylor and Julie Manning

Moorlands Court's Denise Taylor and Julie Manning - Credit: Moorlands Court

Festivities on Wednesday were scaled back due to the lockdown extension. However, Denise and Julie were presented with cards and flowers - and staff and residents raised a glass to them in celebration of their milestone.