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Mar 06, 2024

How Champions of Care winner Darren Buckworth is making a difference at Saturn Healthcare

Winner of the Champions of Care Making a Difference award Darren Buckworth discusses going above and beyond to improve the lives of residents and staff 

2024 Making a Difference Winner (1)

Person Centred Software’s Champions of Care awards provide an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the achievements of our everyday heroes, often working behind the scenes in the social care sector - the champions of change who dedicate their lives to caring for the most vulnerable members of society. 

This time, we’re sharing the story of Darren Buckworth, winner of the Making a Difference award, here is his story!  

Darren’s path into the care industry wasn’t a straightforward one. A chartered accountant by trade, he started at Kinsey Healthcare Group after applying for different jobs and worked in the accounts department for the group. But over time, Darren found himself spending less and less time in the accounts office and was more drawn to the practical side of the care home and the day-to-day processes that goes into providing person centred care. 

After five years there, Darren became the owner of Bungay House, followed by Brett Vale and then Badgers Wood to form Saturn Healthcare.  

What really drew Darren into operating these care homes was that he wanted to make a real difference in people’s lives, as he explained: “When you walk through the care home and you see the people who need help, whether it’s personal care or social interaction, it’s good to make a difference. 

“You can see that you’re making a difference in people’s lives, and one of the biggest things for me is simply the question: if some of the individuals we look after weren’t here, then where would they be? What would their lives be like?” 

For Darren, the goal is and always has been to improve and enhance the quality of life for each individual resident across all three care homes, whether it’s the younger residents with learning difficulties at Brett Vale or older residents at Badgers Wood or at Bungay house which helps people who are of a range of ages. Indeed, the staff at Bungay House were quick to mention that Darren has always shown compassion, care and understanding towards not only the residents there but across all the homes.  

Examples of his going above and beyond for the benefit of residents are numerous, but this commitment to going the extra mile to ensure the best quality of life possible for residents was exemplified when Darren agreed to accept a young man into Bungay House by converting, at great expense, the training room into a completely new room. The young man already had two failed placements in other residential settings, but Darren was determined to provide the best possible environment for him and to avoid a long-term and possible indefinite stay at Northgate Hospital. 

After applying for registration from the CQC, Darren went further than building a new room for the young man – he even set up a quiet lounge for him too. Moreover, Darren made sure that additional staff were in place to support him to and to ensure everybody’s safety and wellbeing. Eventually, the young man even enjoyed a trip to the cinema after explaining that he had not been in four years and accompanying him was an extra member of staff that Darren paid for.  

This story was recognised by the staff at Northgate, Victoria House and the social services as an exceptional achievement as the young man in question had the most admissions and discharges on record, and it speaks to the commitment to care and wellbeing that Darren and his staff have for all the residents for whom they care. In this, Darren really made a difference. 

Recalling this example of making a difference in someone’s life, Darren commented: “It makes you think, if we we’re not there doing what we’re doing, this gentleman might have been in hospital for months, even years. But we’re offering him good quality of life, and that’s what makes it so rewarding.” 

Darren has always gone above and beyond to ensure the best quality of care for residents but also has made great strides to engage and support the wider community – for example, supporting a homeless charity at Christmas or supporting a local hospital to help provide radios to promote mental wellbeing for people receiving treatment, spearheading the donation of ten radios by himself and his staff.   

Darren also ensures that he supports his staff in whatever way possible, which includes promoting learning and development to ensure constant improvement and evolution for the care homes. On this, he said: “It’s always about empowering staff to take on new challenges and new roles. For example, our deputy manager Chloe has been in the position for about a year, but before that I could see she had a lot of potential. She’s doing an amazing job, which I'm really pleased about, but I don’t want her to stop at deputy. I’ve continued to support her to grow and develop.” 

From Darren’s point of view, the continued development of staff goes hand in hand with the quality of life for residents, adding: “The more that you empower people, the more that you train people, the more they learn, it’s absolutely got to benefit anyone who they come into contact with. Whether it’s the residents, whether they’re supporting other staff members, or even whether it’s something outside of work – it means that they’re better at any kind of situation they come across.” 

It is clear to see that Darren has an unwavering passion for helping everyone for whom he cares and everyone he works with, and passion, in his mind, is one of the most important things needed when considering a career in care. 

“Give it a go!” he said when asked about any advice he would give to those considering a career in the care industry. “Come and give it a go and see what it’s like. It’s important to expose people to the fact that this is a career opportunity and that you can get a lot out of it. That is especially true when it comes to personal development; it’s a really, really good job. 

“There are always pathways for promotion, but as well as that it can be a really fun place to work, especially when you get to do things like take residents out doing activities, like going swimming or going to the cinema – sometimes people don’t realise that this is also part of the job. Sometimes people have the mindset of older people just stuck in a room, getting food and personal care and that’s it, but there’s so much more to it. 

“So, I'd say get involved and see what it’s actually like, see what the care industry is all about, and how it’s about being part of a community and the difference it can really make.” 


March 6, 2024

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