A warm welcome

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Invercargill's Bupa Ascot Care Home residents Helen Morton (front, from left), Eunice Ford, and Beverly Muir prepare a cheese roll induction for new care home manager Charmaine Knight. Photo: Abbey Palmer

IN true Southland fashion, residents at Bupa Ascot Care Home inducted their new care home manager with something she had never tried before – a fresh batch of cheese rolls.

With an eager crowd in tow, Charmaine Knight thanked the residents for her first cheese roll experience, hosted at the care home on Tuesday.

“I didn’t like swedes, but I could definitely eat these again,” she joked.

After much debate over the best way to make the Southland food-favourite, care home resident Phyllis Beckett’s recipe won the new manager’s heart.

“I use onion soup powder, cheese, and Anchor evaporated milk, then you finish them off with butter once they’re cooked, lots of it,” Ms Beckett said.

Mrs Knight started the role in June after moving from Western Australia. “It was my first time in Invercargill, I hadn’t even visited the place. I just turned up.

“Since then I’ve been really welcomed by the staff, the residents, and the residents’ families from the minute I walked in the door. It’s a great new adventure for me.”

After 21 years of working as a paramedic and in management roles for St John, Mrs Knight had spent the past four years working in community aged-care in Western Australia.

“I wanted to continue working in aged-care. My husband and I are used to always living and working remote, you can’t get much further than Invercargill so it was a good opportunity for us.”

With her “wealth of knowledge” in aged-care, she saw an opportunity to contribute “exciting new ideas” to the Bupa Ascot Care Home, she said.

“We’re looking at evolving the dementia centre. The internal garden project was one of the first things we wanted to look at to incorporate more dementia-friendly areas for residents.”

Plans to run a “Christmas train-themed” event had already sparked “fierce competition” between residents and staff, she said.

The most important part of her role was to support residents to live an amazing life, she said.

“That’s what they should be doing at this point in their lives and it’s my goal to make that happen.”

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