Team effort after care home's entire kitchen staff gets coronavirus

Amelia and Lloyd Dorrington with chef Aaron Wick, who stepped in to take over at Wells care home Dorrington House after...

Amelia and Lloyd Dorrington with chef Aaron Wick, who stepped in to take over at Wells care home Dorrington House after the entire kitchen team tested positive for coronavirus. - Credit: Karen Bethell

When the entire kitchen team at Wells-next-the-Sea care home Dorrington House tested positive for coronavirus, staff were concerned that residents would have to forgo their usual hearty hot lunches.

But, thanks to the quick-thinking actions of a staff member, and the kindness of the local community, the home’s 35 residents ended up being treated to top quality food cooked up by two professionally trained chefs.

Despite also having to self-isolate after receiving a positive test, “one in a million” team leader Danielle Smith was determined to help out when the four-strong catering crew were taken ill.

She came up with the idea of asking furloughed staff from local pubs and restaurants if they would be willing to do a stint in the kitchen and quickly posted an appeal on Facebook.

“Danielle is amazing,” Dorrington house owner Lorraine Dorrington said. “She is not only a great team leader, but she also does a huge amount to raise money so that our residents can have better lives.”

Catering mainly for older people with dementia, Dorrington House is one of three residential homes owned by Mrs Dorrington and her husband Steve, who opened their first home in Norfolk in 1979 and who, between them, have clocked up more than 70 years in the care sector.

Mum-of-four Mrs Dorrington said that the support the staff at the Wells home had received from the community since the beginning of the pandemic had, at times, almost reduced her to tears.

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“It’s just been overwhelming,” she explained. “We have had people make knitted ‘button’ ear protectors for our staff, we have had a lady make washable bags for them to put their clothes in to prevent infection and within two minutes of our appeal for kitchen staff going on Facebook, I’d had people contact me asking if they could help.”

Also offering support with donations of food were local businesses Wells Deli, The Bowling Green and Wells Crab House, with Wells takeaway French's Fish and Chips delivering hot lunches for three days on the trot.

Stepping in to take over until the regular Dorrington House team are back in action are trained chefs Aaron Wick and Sebastian Harris, with Mr and Mrs Dorrington’s son and daughter Lloyd, 22, and Amelia, 20, also helping out.

“I’m just incredibly proud of all of them, bless their hearts,” Mrs Dorrington said.

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