A care organisation has been hailed by the London Stock Exchange as one of the most “inspirational” companies in the UK.
Pendine Park, which has eight care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon and employs 800 people, was identified as one of the most dynamic companies in Britain.
Around 220 of the jobs have been created at the organisation’s bilingual dementia centre of excellence, Bryn Seiont Newydd, which opened in Caernarfon in 2015.
Pendine has been named by the Stock Exchange in a major report as one of the 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain.
The organisation was founded in 1985 by Mario Kreft MBE, and his wife, Gill, who were looking for residential care for their own grandparents but were unable to find anywhere that met their own high standards.
Earlier this year Pendine revealed £15 million plans to build a dementia centre of excellence in Wrexham and redevelop another site in the town, creating 150 new jobs.
Mr Kreft says they are responding to the huge need for more specialist care because of the soaring number of people aged 85 and over which is due to double over the next two decades.
Pendine is now recognised as one of the leading lights in the social care sector and has won countless awards over the years.
The company has pioneered the use of the arts to enrich the lives of their residents and staff alike.
It was probably the first social care organisation in the UK to appoint an artist in residence nearly a quarter of a century ago and has long-running partnerships with the world-renowned Hallé orchestra and Welsh National Opera.
Support for more than 30 arts and community groups across Wales is channelled through the Pendine Arts and Community Trust (PACT).
Among the beneficiaries are the North Wales International Music Festival, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and the International Choral Festival in Cardiff.
Mr Kreft, who was awarded the MBE in 2010 for his contribution to the sector, is also the chair of industry body Care Forum Wales and the Wales Care Awards, known as the social care Oscars, which he set up.
Last year he was apppinted by Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates AM to help steer the Welsh economy as a member of his influential Ministerial Advisory Board.
According to Mr Kreft, it was an historic appointment because this was the first time that a representative of the social care sector had been placed “right at the heart of the economic decision making in Wales”.
He’s particularly proud that social care has now been identified by the Welsh Government as one of four foundation pillars of the economy.
Mr Kreft said: “I’m both delighted but also surprised to be included in this report from the London Stock Exchange because we were unaware it until my bank manager phoned me up to tell me the news.
“Everybody connected with the organisation is delighted, not just because of what it says about Pendine but also what it says about social care more widely.
“We have always known how important social care is in terms of providing community-based services but we’ve often seen how other organisations appear to be more fashionable.
“This recognition underlines the importance of private social care providers in not only providing vital services for the most vulnerable people in society but as a provider of jobs and as a major contributor to the Welsh economy.
“It also confirms the wisdom of the direction of travel from the Welsh Government who have confirmed how social care is one of the four foundation sectors which are key to our economic success.
“I was very pleased on a personal level on behalf of this important sector to be invited to be part of the Ministerial Economic Advisory because that is another very important step in mainstreaming social care and recognising its value.
“Adult social care contribute more than £2 billion annually to the Welsh economy and creates jobs for more than 127,000 people, and crucially it also underpins the NHS.
“At Pendine we have been working with the likes of Communities First and the Princes Trust to bring in hard to reach, unemployed people to work in the sector, giving them a career and a bright future.
“It’s really encouraging that a company that is dedicated to doing things in the right way, investing a huge amount of time and effort and money in training and the arts is able to be successful and that in itself is a good message.
“We don’t and have never received any grant funding from anybody. Everything we do we have had to invest ourselves or from our lenders.
“Our aim at all times is to provide a high quality service in an ethical way, with enrichment at its heart.”
David Schwimmer, the CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group, said: “Ensuring that dynamic growth companies can realise their potential is vital to the UK’s future prosperity.
“Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – accounting for 60 per cent of all
private sector employment – drive growth, innovation and job creation and are the lifeblood of the British economy.
In the context of wider macro-economic uncertainty, supporting these businesses is critical to economic success and the creation of a society that works for everyone.”