New manager Nicola fulfils career ambition


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New manager Nicola fulfils career ambition

Belong Atherton, has named Nicola Johnstone as its new general manager, marking a career milestone for the rising star and a new era for the Mealhouse Lane care village.

For her brief, Nicola will oversee 24-hour dementia and nursing care for 72 residents, as well as independent living apartment tenants, both with the assistance of an experienced management team and a philosophy to support older people to live an active and fulfilling later life. The organisation’s community home care service, Belong at Home, also operates from the site.

Nicola’s care career began in 2003, when new to the care industry, she began her on-the-job training and swiftly made her mark to earn progression in seniority and head-up her own teams. Five years later, following the completion of her BSc degree in adult nursing, she joined the village’s nursing team, before progressing to lead nurse in just a year.

In 2019, promotion to the support manager position came with the responsibility of registered manager with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and maintaining Belong Atherton’s ‘Outstanding’ rating. More recently, Nicola was instrumental in the village’s accreditation of the Quality Hallmark Award for demonstrating best practice in end of life and palliative care – one of only three operators in the county to hold the Gold Standards Framework (GSF) distinction.

Other accolades earned by Nicola include two wins at the Great North West Care Awards and the Nurse of the Year title at the Wigan and Leigh Hospice Awards; she was also previously invited to meet then Prince Charles alongside other nurses for their distinguished contribution to frontline care.
Now, drawing on more than two decades of experience, she plans to build on the village’s strengths and reputation as an outstanding care provider in the local community. Speaking of her appointment and her future plans, Nicola Johnstone, general manager at Belong Atherton, said: “I am very proud to lead our wonderful village and I’m looking forward to continuing the inclusive culture and innovative approaches to care that we have. Supporting our customers to live well and relationships with the community are my top priorities.”

Martin Rix, chief executive officer at Belong, added: “We’re pleased to congratulate Nicola on her new role. From zero social care experience to general manager, via the nursing profession, is the result of her hard work and commitment to our customers which have enabled her to advance her career at a rapid pace. We place great focus on developing home grown talent and Nicola is a shining example of someone who shares our ‘for people, not profit’ approach to care.”

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