Care home residents were so delighted by the polished performance of the volunteer who came in to do their nails that they wrote to the owners suggesting she should be given a permanent job.
Bosses at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham were equally impressed with 45-year-old Sharon Williams and readily agreed to put her on the staff.
Sharon, from Summerhill near Wrexham, now runs the popular weekly pop-up nail bar sessions at four of the group’s homes across Wrexham and is loving every minute.
“It’s my dream job and the Pendine Park homes are all amazing – you feel the warmth and care as soon you walk into them,” she said.
Sharon, who originally worked as a care assistant at a school in the area, took four years off to have her daughter Ellie Mai, now five.
She was studying to become a nail technician when she visited Clatterbridge Hospital on the Wirral with her mum who was having treatment for breast cancer but has thankfully since recovered.
She recalled: “There was a lady doing hand and arm massage on a voluntary basis in what can be a very stressful environment and it made me think what a great idea it was. I remember saying to my mum that I’d love to do something like that.
“When I finished the nail technician’s course I asked a friend who worked at Pendine Park’s Highfield home if they’d like me to come in as a volunteer to do residents’ nails and some massage too.
“That was just over 12 months ago and things went very well from the start. I know that some of the residents wrote to the owners, with the backing of the activities co-ordinator Christine Lewis, asking if I could be given a permanent job and I’ve recently been taken on part-time doing 10 hours a week.”
Sharon, who also has a 12-year-old son called Bradley, added: “I’m now doing a few hours each week at Highfield and also at the other Pendine Park homes in Wrexham, which are Cae Bryn, Pen y Bryn and Gwern Alyn.
“It’s a dream come true for me and I’m doing manicures, pedicures, hand and arm massage or just simply having a good old chat with the residents about anything and everything.
“I think I must now have close on 100 regular clients and that’s growing by week. I also do hand massages and manicures for the male residents because we don’t want to leave them out.
“The oldest of the ladies who come to me is 98 and she recently asked if I could paint her finger nails black. I did it after checking with the staff to make sure they didn’t mind.
“It’s great to see the reactions of the residents when they’ve been to one of my pampering sessions, which hopefully can change someone’s day for the better.
“One of the ladies actually said to me that I’d made her feel like a woman again and that was so nice to hear.
“It’s been a case of voluntary work really changing my life.”
After her first session with Sharon, 90-year-old Jean Haggard from Wrexham, who goes along to Highfield for regular respite days, said: “I’ve just had my nails painted in a very nice shade of pink with a small jewel set into one of them.
“It’s good to be made a fuss of like this and by such a lovely lady, too. I’m glad I can come to the nail bar when I’m here at the home.”
Also impressed with the striking green nails she was sporting courtesy of Sharon was Sue Mullally, 70, who lived in Wrexham before moving into Highfield.
“I like to change the colour of my nails every so often and it’s marvellous to have Sharon doing them for me. Having you nails taken care of like this makes you feel a bit special,” she said.
Highfield’s Christine Lewis said: “After Sharon had been with us as a volunteer for 12 months there was no way we were going to let her go, so I really pushed hard for her to be given a permanent job on a part-time basis.
“I’m sure the residents writing in on her behalf also helped.
“Sharon is really marvellous with the residents and they can’t wait to see her when she comes in for the pop-up nail bar here every Wednesday morning. For the rest of the week she’s at the other homes and it’s a similar story with them all – they just love her!”
Jen Roberts, Pendine Park’s New Business and Operations Manager, said: “We’re delighted that Sharon has joined the team.
“She came to us first as a volunteer and was so enthusiastic and kind. As a result of that we offered her a permanent job.
“Some of the residents wrote in to say how much they’d miss her if she didn’t stay.
“She’s now working across all the Wrexham homes in our organisation and it’s definitely been a win-win situation for everyone – residents, staff and Sharon herself who is expanding her knowledge of working in social care.”