A DEMENTIA care centre is celebrating its fifth anniversary after creating 230 jobs and putting nearly £10million into the Gwynedd economy every year.

Bryn Seiont Newydd, on the outskirts of Caernarfon, opened its doors in November 2015 and a year later was crowned as the best new care home in the UK.

It is part of the Pendine Park care organisation owned by Mario and Gill Kreft who also have seven other care homes in Wrexham and employ more than 800 staff in total.

The history of the site dates back to the Bronze Age and artefacts found there, including an incense cup, are now at the National Museum of Wales.

Just over 100 years ago the original building opened its doors as a breakthrough health centre of a very different kind when it was established as The Bryn Seiont Tuberculosis Hospital.

The bilingual centre was named Bryn Seiont Newydd as a salute to the community hospital, Ysbyty Bryn Seiont, which closed in 2004.

Pendine Park opened an adjoining development of 16 companion living apartments, Parc Bryn Seiont, in 2017.

That means the home now provides care for 107 people, roughly the same as the number of beds at the six community hospitals in Gwynedd.

Manager Sandra Evans, who has been there from day one, said: “In all we provide care for 107 residents and employ around 230 staff in a variety of roles including nurses, senior and clinical care practitioners, are support workers, catering, maintenance and gardening staff.

“That is a lot of jobs that helps pay a lot of mortgages and a huge contribution to the local Gwynedd economy.

“We’re also helping to underpin the NHS in Gwynedd, providing vital community-based services, with very nearly the same number of beds as the ones provided by the six community hospitals in the county.

“I’m proud that 94 per cent of our staff are fluent Welsh speakers which is particularly important in this area as Welsh is the first language of many of our residents.

“It’s been wonderful to see the team grow and develop. We have staff members who are forging careers in nursing and gaining qualifications that, in some cases, they never dreamt was possible.

“Training and best practice is in Pendine Park’s DNA. We have our own training school at Wrexham and we have our own in house trainer here at Bryn Seiont Newydd.

“I’m proud we have been recognised within the care industry for our work having won several awards, including, the best new care home in the UK award at the prestigious Pinders Healthcare Design Awards in 2016.

“Using the arts to enrich the lives of our residents and staff is central to daily life here at Bryn Seiont Newydd where we have our own musician-in-residence, the hugely talented Nia Davies Williams.

She added: “Covid-19 has made for a very difficult year but our team has stepped up to the plate.

“What we have done is ensure residents have a full range of enrichment activities from music and art projects to ensure their well-being.

One staff member who has worked at the care home from the day it opened has been gaining new skills and is aiming to eventually to realise her dream of becoming a nurse.

Charlotte Foad-Owen, 33, who lives at Rhostryfan, near Caernarfon, started out as a care support worker carrying out housekeeping duties before becoming a care practitioner.

She said: “I just love being part of the Bryn Seiont Newydd team. There really is a family feel among residents and staff and I couldn’t see me working anywhere else. We have an amazing manager in Sandra Evans and I have always felt supported and encouraged to better myself.”

Mum-of-two clinical practitioner Sadie Lewis, 29, of Caernarfon has also been at Bryn Seiont Newydd for the full five years it has been open and says she just adores working there.

She said: “The building itself is so fresh, bright and welcoming. It’s a happy place and there is always laughter. I started as a care practitioner and have completed my NVQ Level 2 and then completed advanced clinical practitioner training.”

Catering manager Richard Thompson, 40, also of Caernarfon, started work with Pendine Park Care Organisation a few months ahead of the official opening.

He said: “I have a wonderful catering department with state-of-the-art kitchens. I have a staff of 10 plus four kitchen porters and cater for 107 residents plus staff meals. That’s breakfast, lunch and tea 365 days a year including a full three-course Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on Christmas Day.

“I also enjoyed baking the cake that I made to celebrate our fifth anniversary although I have to admit I didn’t decorate it. That was done by Bethan Jones who works in the kitchen with me. It must have been a nice cake as it was all gone before I got to have a piece!”

Proprietors Mario and Gill Kreft are delighted with the success of Bryn Seiont Newydd.

Mr Kreft, who was awarded an MBE in 2010 for his contribution to social care and is chair of industry champions Care Forum Wales, said: “What the team at Bryn Seiont Newydd has achieved here has surpassed all our expectations.

“Sandra Evans has developed a great team who support people with a range of dementia and mental health needs while Parc Bryn Seiont provides companion living apartments offering a unique opportunity where loved ones can remain together.

“It’s also clear that, through providing careers and work opportunities to around 230 people, the care homes have provided a huge boost to the local economy which equates to nearly £10 million a year.

“This underlines the importance of social care as part of the foundation economy in Wales, something that has been recognised by the Welsh Government.

“Staff wages are largely spent locally which is why social care should be seen as a value and not a cost to society.”