An Inverness woman who has battled a life threatening health condition but has remained committed to working to help care for older people, and a head chef who helps people with mental health conditions learn to cook for themselves, have both been honoured for their outstanding loyal service by colleagues.
For over 20 years, Amanda Rodden, 44 and Keith Smith, 39 have worked for leading nursing and residential care provider, Meallmore Ltd.
Amanda, an administrator based at the company’s head office Caulfield House, Inverness, has been the friendly voice on the other end of the phone to dozens of relatives of residents or those considering re-locating their loved ones to a care home for the first time.
The mum of one joined the company shortly after owners Gerry and Aiden Hennessey opened their first care home, Meallmore Lodge in Daviot, just south of Inverness. She has watched the home and the care industry evolve ever since.
It’s a time Amanda will never forget as shortly after joining the company she was also diagnosed with a rare blood disorder (autoimmune disease Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)) that causes life threatening bleeding and blood does not clot. But Amanda was determined not to let the condition that causes weight gain, bleeding and severe bruising stop her from leading a normal life and from fulfilling her role.
Amanda said: “I’ve been with Meallmore from the very start when they only had one care home and a handful of elderly residents. In those days people would turn up with a suitcase like they were coming here on their holidays. The industry has seen massive changes since then with more people needing more complex care.
“I was devastated when I was first diagnosed with my illness. It’s a real shock to find out that you are living with a condition which in rare cases can lead to a potentially fatal bleed into any part of the body. The staff at Meallmore have always been fantastic, supporting me every step of the way and being flexible and understanding about my medical appointments and my condition. It’s a really fantastic environment to work in.
“I’ve celebrated two milestones in the last few days; being employed by Meallmore for 20 years and losing a lot of weight that was originally brought on by my illness. It’s been a real party atmosphere in the office.”
Keith was first employed as a cleaner and kitchen porter at Meallmore Lodge, Daviot at 19-years-old. The company paid for him to attend college one day a week for four years and gradually he worked his way up from porter to Head Chef.
He said: “I worked at Meallmore Lodge for 16 years, preparing healthy and nutritional meals for elderly residents who could have complex health needs. It was always a challenging yet rewarding job and I enjoyed tailoring meals to suit each residents needs.”
Keith, who has worked at Kynmylies Lodge Care Home for the last four years, has won two awards for his cooking skills.
He said: “Kinmylies Lodge cares for young adults who are recovering from mental health illnesses and it’s my job to show them how to cook healthy and nutritional meals that they can easily prepare themselves. It’s great to see young people develop skills and regain their confidence and self esteem as they move through their recovery process.”
Keith has won the Nutrition and Eating Well award two years running at the Meallmore annual care awards.