Coneygar Lodge has been a care home since the late 1980’s but was purchased by Wendy Cross and her husband Ted, in 1999. At this time, it only had 16 beds and was quite run down.
Wendy, a former RGN, had a vision to turn the home into somewhere that cared passionately about its residents and could offer a real home from home. An extension in 2001 took the home up to 22 beds thanks to all the hard work from Wendy and the team, gained a fantastic reputation locally for providing great person centred care.
In 2005, their son James joined the business as one of the directors. As a degree qualified engineer, he set about modernising the home by bringing in computerisation to help reduce the administrative burden of the care staff so they could concentrate more of their time on caring directly for our residents. He also provided support to the registered manager in the day-to-day running of the home.
In 2021, Graham Oakes, joined the team as our Registered Home Manager, and Mark Chilton-Dobson as Deputy Manager, both bringing years of care experience to the roles and having a real real passion and understanding of our ethos. They have been instrumental in bringing the best out of our home and staff.
Today we have an amazing team, headed up by Graham and Mark. James is on site on a daily basis and Wendy & Ted are never far away with advice and help. Some of our carers have been with us for 20+ years and we have an incredible team who are both dedicated and passionate about the care they provide – almost like one big family!
A care home can have all the most incredible facilities available but without an amazing team of staff with passionate leadership, there is no foundation to provide the level of care that our residents deserve.
At Coneygar Lodge we consider ourselves to be extremely lucky. We have a carefully selected team of local staff, all of whom share our passion to provide the best possible care for our residents. We value our staff and this is reflected in great staff retention (we have three staff who have been with us for over 20 years!). With excellent leadership from our Registered Manager, Graham Oakes, supported by our Deputy Manager, Mark ,our motivated and happy team are one of the main reasons we achieved our ‘Outstanding’ award in 2018.
Wendy Cross – Managing Director / Owner
Wendy, a former RGN, had seen over the years the general poor conditions prevalent in many care homes when looking for her father who was suffering Alzheimer’s disease. She had a vision to create a care home that offered an amazing level of care with a homely atmosphere. In 1999 she purchased Coneygar Lodge with her husband, Ted, to put that vision into practise and is still very much involved with the home to this day.
Ted Cross – Director / Owner
Ted was a self employed electrician for over 40 years before ‘retiring’ to assist with renovations and repairs at Coneygar in 2004. He is still involved on the practical & maintenance side of the home.
James Cross – Operations Director
James joined the family business in 2005 from a background in design engineering to assist with the day-to-day organisation and was tasked to bring the business into the new century by embracing technology to help improve the home and reduce the administrative burden on the care staff. He works alongside the Registered Manager & deputy on a daily basis.
Graham Oakes – Registered Home Manager
Graham was born in Bridport and trained as a Nurse at Yeovil Hospital.
He has managed a number of Care Homes and joins us from running a home in Devizes, Wiltshire.
Graham has previously managed a range of settings including a Care Village, he describes Coneygar as a unique Care Hamlet.
“This is a very different model from other care homes I have been involved with but I am struck by how well the staff know the resident’s needs and the lovely, relaxed atmosphere. Coneygar is a special place”.
Mark Chilton-Dobson – Deputy Manager
Mark grew up in Swanage on the Isle of Purbeck, in Dorset.
He later trained as a Psychiatric Nurse in Dorchester in 1977, before gaining further experience in hospital, community, and voluntary sector in the UK and South Africa.
On his return to the UK he trained as a Registered Manager and ran a number of homes in London before returning to Dorset to work.
“I am enjoying my role as Deputy manager at Coneygar Lodge and getting to know the residents and staff and working as part of a family run business.”
The rest of the team consists of senior care staff, care staff, activity coordinator, housekeepers, cooks and maintenance, all of whom play an important part at Coneygar and we all work as one team, putting the care of our residents first and foremost. We have an ‘open door’ management policy and welcome suggestions & ideas from anyone on the team to further improve our working practises.