Meet Caron Agatowski, Branch Director for Friends Helping at Home South Hams
This week, we spoke with Caron Agatowski, our Branch Director for the new South Hams branch for Friends Helping at Home.
Hi Caron, how do you feel about starting the new South Hams branch for Friends Helping at Home?
I’m absolutely thrilled – I’ve been in the care industry for 11 years, across a range of different settings, so heading a branch for care is the perfect next step for me, with my experience.
I love the South Hams area of Devon, I’m partial to a brunch at Café Alf Resco in Dartmouth and love the views across the coast.
I’ve actually been working at Friends Helping at Home since December 2020, helping out with admin for the Torbay branch, so getting to start my own branch is such an exciting endeavour for me.
Also, having been a care assistant for a number of years, I’ve found that it helps me understand the challenges that service providers can face on a day-to-day basis, as well as the ways we can make a difference to the people we care for.
What’s been your favourite part of working in the care industry for the past 11 years?
The people, definitely.
I’ve met so many lovely people while working in care, both my colleagues and the people I’ve cared for, and have made so many new friends over the years.
Knowing that I’m making a difference in people’s lives gives me such a warm feeling, and I pride myself on being friendly, welcoming, and approachable to everyone I meet.
For the past 11 years, I’ve worked with different care companies across South Devon specialising in Rota Coordination and Supervising Care Assistants.
I love the relationships I build with the service providers I work with and pride myself in my ability to be warm and welcoming to anyone who joins.
What do you do outside of your work at Friends?
I’m always busy!
My fiancé, Adam, and I run a successful valeting and detailing company, Atlas Valeting, which means we both get to meet even more people in the South Devon community.
In our spare time, you’ll often find us taking a stroll into our local village for ice cream with our dog, Pippin, shopping in our favourite independent places, and wandering about Slapton Sands with our daughter, Autumn.
As a family, we love living in Devon, and are always looking for ways we can support the local community.
How long have you lived in South Devon?
I’ve been part of the South Devon community for the past 13 years, having moved from Hampshire, and I haven’t looked back since!
The fresh sea air, beautiful parks, local shops, and, of course, delicious scones and cakes, make it, to me, the best place in the UK.
What does an average day at the Friends South Hams branch look like for you?
First things first: coffee!
There’s a lot of work to be done, and I can’t wait to get stuck in!
At the moment, as South Hams is a new branch for Friends, I’m spending quite a lot of time speaking to carers in the area to see if they’re a good ‘Friends’ fit, checking in with my existing South Hams carers with monthly meetings to make sure they’re happy, and scoping out the South Hams area – any excuse to see the beautiful villages!
I also support my fellow branch directors with recruitment and general admin at the Exeter and Teignbridge branches for Friends Helping at Home – it’s lovely to have such a close-knit group of us working together and helping each other.
I also check in regularly with our weekly meetings with the whole Friends team – currently all carried out in a Covid-friendly way via Teams – seeing how we can make things better for our carers and clients needing care.
It’s refreshing to work somewhere that’s always looking for ways to improve our service for both carers and those seeking care, tailoring how we work to best suit our community for our different branches.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Friends community?
I’m always on the hunt for new places to shop, eat, and visit in South Hams and beyond, so if anyone has any recommendations for independent businesses we can support, let me know!