Staff caring for the elderly are doing a good job in tough times

Cedric Frederick, chief executive, Avante Partnership
Cedric Frederick, chief executive, Avante Partnership

Workers caring for the elderly have been hailed for doing a good job in challenging times despite going without a pay rise.

Cedric Frederick, chief executive of Avante Partnership, a Faversham-based charity, says the squeeze on council costs combined with rising standards make it tough for care providers.

But the organisation, founded in Kent 23 years ago and now running 15 homes, is rising to the challenge. Avante serves more than 5,000 vulnerable people, employs 2,000 staff and has an annual income of more than £30 million.

“It is a low-pay industry and we’re asking more and more or our staff,” Mr Frederick said. “But none of us is in a position where we can increase salaries to any significant degree.

We don’t pay staff anywhere near what they’re worth and I feel embarrassed sometimes that we ask so much of them. They do such a good job - their passion, their enthusiasm and commitment.”

Mr Frederick, hailed as an unsung hero of the third sector, has been in public service for 35 years and loves doing his best for the elderly. The 6ft 6in former England basketball player says the sporting experience made him determined to ensure that Avante is “the best we can be.”

That determination is needed more than ever as cash-strapped local authorities rely on care providers to be as inventive as possible in reducing costs while continuing to provide high-quality care. All at a time when Avante faces rising costs.

“These are very challenging times,” Mr Frederick says. “But I’ve got the best job in the world. It’s a great organisation and doing really good work.”

Video: Trevor Sturgess speaks to Cedric Frederick
See the full interview with Mr Frederick in the June issue of Kent Business, distributed with most KM Group newspapers.
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