Vicki Fowler has worked in care from 1984. She started at Moor Mead Nursing home, Wroughton social services and Royal Wootton Bassett at various homecare agencies. Vicki moved to Braydon in 2004, to a 200 year old farm house that has been in her husband’s family since 1934. Vicki started to work in a local residential care home which was the Cedars in Purton and while working there she voluntarily gave her time once a month to take residents out for meals or shopping trips in her people carrier.
After 3 years working in the home she decided to take a break. In 2008 she had the calling to return back into care and decided to become an independent home care provider to support her local community. She registered with WDPS direct payment.
The late Basil Merchant employed Vicki to provide support to him and his family. Basil went into respite care far away and so he felt it would be nicer if he was near his own home. He asked Vicki if she could provide respite care at her farm as he knew she had ground floor accommodation. Vicki rang the appropriate services to find out some more information. When she informed Basil that she could provide respite care for him he was so happy.
The seed had been planted, and Vicki rang the Care Quality Commission to find out more about respite care. Vicki could provide care under the 28 day rule and not have to be registered then.
Basil booked in for the first 4 weeks but unfortunately passed away before he got to Battle Lake Farm. From 2008 to 2010 Vicki provided respite care to people in her local and surrounding areas and had to set up a pre-booking service because of the demand.
In October 2010, The Care Quality Commission informed Vicki that if she wanted to carry on her service she would have to be registered. Vicki’s clients, friends, colleagues and family supported her, and gave her encouragement to register.
Firstly, Vicki applied for planning permission to have a purpose built unit attached to the family home, which took a long time but was finally granted. Then Vicki applied to register with CQC. Vicki continued to provide respite care in her client’s home while she was waiting for registration which she received on 5 September 2011.
Vicki has also, for the last 2 years, supported her community by having monthly tea parties when locals and residents come with their carers for tea at Battle Lake Farm. The local Age Concern mini bus brings individuals to the farm and one mini bus it was given the name Basil Merchant! So Basil is here in memory and still part of Caring Hands (Wiltshire).
Vicki’s respite suite in her family home comprises a double bedroom, dining/sitting area and own bathroom which is all on ground level with disabled facilities.
Vicki provides care, homemade meals, takes respite clients out or invites friends in for tea to make their time on Battle Lake Farm an enjoyable stay. A couple can stay in the respite suite providing only one person is receiving the care or a couple can visit and stay for a holiday in the countryside on a working farm.
Vicki hopes Caring hands (Wiltshire) will expand to a small 4 bedroom unit, to keep holiday respite care personalised and tailored to client’s needs.