Culture is simply the way we do things around here…

And we are proud to have created a person-centered culture, where everyone is focused on ensuring that people who are supported have control over their lives, and are living the way they choose. In a person-centered culture you see trust, empowerment and accountability.

Penny Graver
Amitola Communities Director
The Gravers Co-Owner
Christmas Lodge Co-Owner

I started my combined nurse training in 1972 and following 4 years in York and Scarborough qualified as a Registered Psychiatric and General Nurse (RMN, RGN). I then went on to work in a managerial position within residential care for social services, prior to opening the Gravers in 1985.

Over the years I have never lost enthusiasm, this is our life and I am very passionate about making a difference in our resident’s lives, our approach will always be resident led, respecting that everyone is individual. My drive today is just as strong as it was on day one, life is for living and learning and I’m very excited about the future, embracing new ways of working to continue to enhance our services.

Dale Graver
Amitola Communities Director
The Gravers Co-Owner
Christmas Lodge Co-Owner

I started my nursing training in 1981 and qualified as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RMN) in 1984. As well as joint owner of the Gravers I have been registered manager since 1985.

This has been our way of life for the last three decades and I remember starting out, living at the top of the Gravers with three residents – the property was purchased for the residents so this was a temporary arrangement to get the residential home under way, it was a great experience and looking back now we have 21 residents it makes me very proud to have had the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of so many vulnerable adults.

Lynne Dexter
Amitola Communities Director
The Dexters Owner and Manager
Christmas Lodge Co-Owner

I qualified as a registered general nurse in 1976 in Lincoln and moved to York in 1977 to undertake training to become a psychiatric nurse, I opened and became manager of The Dexters residential care home in 1985 and have continued to add to my skill set with Advanced Diplomas in Care, Human Relations and Reflexology.

This is not just a job, it is a vocation, a way of life that I am very privileged to be a part of and the beauty of it all to me is that you never stop learning. I feel extremely fortunate that for almost 3 decades I have been able to make a difference to peoples’ lives by providing a holistic, accepting environment that has always felt like home.

Ryan Buglass
Amitola Communities
Operations Director

I joined the group in May 2013 to lead the strategic planning and to support the management team in the operation of the organisation.

Having previously held senior management positions in corporate organisations it was a fantastic career change for me, allowing me to meet and work with some really great people in a much different environment than I was used to.

Most of our service users refer to me as ‘Bri’ and I gain a lot of satisfaction seeing the outstanding work our team perform and the success stories of our service users, especially when we can help people back into the community with varying degrees of support.

Were always looking to enhance our services and it is an exciting road ahead for Amitola Communities, I’m just thrilled to be part of the journey!

Mark Mortimer
The Dexters Manager

I joined Amitola Communities in December 2013 as the Manager of Christmas Lodge, I now also co-manage The Dexters with Mrs Dexter. This offers me the opportunity to work with a large staff team and many clients, which makes for a varied and exciting, but very rewarding role.

The ethos of Amitola Communities is driven by the commitment of its owners to the individuals in their care, to help people strive towards being as independent as possible on a recovery focused pathway. This is what makes the organisation a great place to work.

My previous employment positions include working as a qualified Social Worker in a secure hospital, working as a Registered Manager in a home for challenging behaviour and autism, and Manager at a day service for young people with ASD

Joanne Sellers
The Gravers Manager

Joanne Sellers - March 16 (2)

Having worked in the care sector since 2002, gaining valuable work experience as a general care assistant until 2005, then Senior Care Assistant until 2010, I was given the opportunity as Deputy Manager at The Gravers. In 2012 I successfully completed my NVQ 4 in Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care and have been co-Manager with Mr Graver since 2013.

The recovery focus care delivered to our clients is what sets us apart from our competition, and makes for such rewarding work for myself and the staff team.

Having the opportunity every day to make a positive impact on the lives of adults who suffer from complex and enduring mental health issues and/or learning disabilities, and work with a dedicated and passionate team of professionals is what makes Amitola Communities a great place to work.

Hayley Chadwick
Christmas Lodge Manager

Hayley Chadwick

I started working in the care sector as a general care assistant in 2004 after completion of a GNVQ 2&3. After developing new skills through both practical work and educational resources, I went on to become a senior care assistant for the elderly suffering with several different types of Dementia and other mental health illnesses. During my role, I completed several trainers courses in order to teach courses within the care sector including: ROSPA Safer People Handling, Alzheimers Society Courses – Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow and Tomorrow is Another Day and also completed a course between the Alzheimers Society and the University of Worcester looking at use of anti-psychotic medication. In 2008, I accepted the role of Unit Manager in which I Completed my NVQ Level 5 in Management & Leadership.

I started my role as Home Manager here at Christmas Lodge in November 2015. Both, the recovery focus and person centred care in which we provide within Amitola Communities assists in a strong working professional team dedicated and highly committed to providing individual support & recovery programmes for people with complex and enduring mental health problems, in order to maintain independence, life skills and a feeling of self-worth and confidence. To work alongside our residents, achieving positive outcomes and positive impacts on their lives, makes Amitola Communities an excellent company to be a part of.

Laura Scaife
Christmas Lodge Deputy Manager

Laura Scaife

After completing my degree in Psychology and Sociology it was my intention to continue my studies with the Open University whilst working “temporarily” at The Gravers. That was in 2004! The fact that I am still here is testament to the positive and supportive environment Amitola Communities provides for both residents and staff.

The dedication and passion of the Directors is inspiring and infectious, and the high standards that they set are evident in all aspects of the services we provide across our homes.

Within the organisation I have worked as a general care assistant, a senior support worker, and a Deputy Manager, a position I held for a number of years at the Gravers, before transferring to Christmas Lodge as acting manager in 2013 after completion of my NVQ 4 in Leadership and Management in Care services.

After maternity leave I resumed my role as Deputy Manager. On a personal level being able to make a positive difference to people’s everyday lives, and to ultimately support them to achieve their optimum potential, is something I find hugely rewarding. It is fantastic to work for a company that is solely driven by our resident’s individual needs, wants, aspirations and goals. It is an honour to be a part of that.

Dan Graver
Clinical Recovery Lead

I have been involved with people contending mental health problems and learning disabilities for as long as I can remember. An ethos of mutual respect and responsibility, whilst being sensitive to distress was instilled in me at a young age, and inspired me to forge a career in this area. I formed strong personal relationships with our residents over the years and many of which shared their stories with me, something that I felt very privileged to share.

This formed the grounding for my interest in recovery practice and social psychiatry, understanding that a person’s life experience contributes significantly to the development of mental health problems, and treatment can, and should, be tailored accordingly. People should be able to feel hope and self-worth. I feel that applying a strictly medical model of care to dealing with mental health problems can be counter-productive, suppressing symptoms without addressing underlying emotional issues.

My role as Clinical Recovery Lead for Amitola Communities enables me to utilise humanistic intervention in conjunction with psychotherapy, empowering the people I am working with to re-frame their stories and reclaim their power.

I have completed my second year of mental health nursing at York University, graduating in October 2016. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be a part of an innovative service, working daily with a great staff team and a fantastic group of residents.

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