Sustainability matters: A sustainable future
Hartford Care’s quality director Nicky Barnes says improving the company’s green credentials is a key factor in its growth strategy
Hartford Care’s ethos is ‘Creating Caring Communities’; our philosophy of care is underpinned by creating communities that are friendly, kind and welcoming of everyone, caring for each other and celebrating individuality by recognising that everyone needs something different to thrive.
We are committed to building a sustainable future, continuously investing in our homes and improving our green credentials. Sustainability is key to our growth strategy, and we’ve already invested more than £8 million to help reduce our carbon footprint and futureproof our homes.
So far, we have installed solar panels at 11 homes, with a further five due to be completed this year. Where already installed, on average, around 30% of each home’s energy is now being produced from the solar panels. In addition, we are undertaking refurbishment projects and extensions across our homes.
Fundamentally, for Hartford Care, sustainability encompasses much more than just environmental concerns. Under the S ‘social pillar’ of ESG, which includes workplace health and safety, fair pay and living wages, equal employment opportunities, employee benefits and community engagement, we continually put ourselves at the forefront of innovation. We launched virtual reality headsets for residents with dementia across our homes in March last year, along with trialling pioneering room sensor technology aimed at minimising the risk of falls and improving sleep. Most recently, we installed a digital thermostat control for each bedroom which automatically changes the temperature if it’s too hot or cold, along with alerting staff if windows are opened.
Our team is at the heart of the business and staff are carefully recruited so residents are supported as if they were a member of their own family. Dedicated to setting the best example in the care sector, in December 2022 we introduced a winter fuel contribution of up to £600 for all our staff. We also host an annual awards ceremony to celebrate our much-valued employees. We are proud to be an accredited Living Wage Employer and invest heavily in career development. With the continued commitment to our staff – and recruitment and retention always being a high priority for the sector – we have decreased our use of agency staff by 140% in the past 12 months.
We were the first company in the UK to participate in a groundbreaking employment-led approach to refugee resettlement as part of the Communities for Ukraine programme, developed by Citizens UK and USPUK. We started working on the project in January last year and our first employee arrived last March. We already welcomed seven people and their families to England, where they join the company in a variety of roles from care assistants to general assistants. A significant organisational commitment, we hope that it will pave the way for other companies – inside and outside the care sector – to offer sustainable support and aid to the victims of the war in Ukraine.
We are proud to be at the heart of our local communities. We have an active presence, hosting and attending events and raising money for local and national charities, along with working alongside local schools, pre-schools and churches, and various nurseries visit the homes. With our continued community focus in 2023, our homes provided collection points for people to donate goods for Ukraine and many of the homes also regularly collect donations for local food banks.
We look forward to continuing to create caring communities – existing and new – that are built on a solid foundation of sustainable practices.