When did you join the Leuchie team and what were your first impressions?
I started working at Leuchie in December 2020 as one of the Guest Engagement Assistants.
The covid pandemic had really made me reassess my life, I wasn’t enjoying the job I was working in and one day the GE assistant job popped up on my Facebook. It felt like it had come along at exactly the right time and I applied, not long after I had an interview via zoom and was extremely happy to be offered the job.
Leuchie has always meant such a lot to my family, growing up in North Berwick its part of the community and my mum used to be a volunteer for meal assists when the nuns were running Leuchie.
Later on, it became a valuable resource for my family when my cousin Duncan’s MS progressed. He used to love his Leuchie holidays, I have many happy memories of visiting him at the house. I was always so impressed with the care he received whilst staying at Leuchie, and the remarkable tan he came home with!
My first impressions of Leuchie during my first few shifts was one of warmth, I was made to feel very welcome and delighted to meet some staff who had looked after Duncan and remembered him fondly.
After just 4 shifts we locked down again which was so disappointing, so I was very glad to get back to work in February.
When the Guest Engagement Manager’s role became available in May I swithered about applying, an old colleague and friend persuaded me to go for it and I was offered the role shortly after, much to my delight.
What is the focus of Leuchie’s guest engagement programme?
The guest engagement department is there to ensure guests have the best holiday possible. I organise trips out during their stay and offer them a range of in-house activities, therapies and experiences that they may not get at home.
Each day is different, one morning we could be doing an exercise class, followed later by afternoon tea and a performer visiting the house in the evening to sing to our guests.
During the restrictions we weren’t able to have performers in the house so its been wonderful to have live music back. The guests really enjoy it and it’s something I try to organise multiple times each holiday.
Some of our guests live alone so coming to Leuchie is a great opportunity for them to catch up with friends they’ve made on previous holidays and get help with things such as assisted technology which has improved our guests lives enormously. One guest we helped told me they didn’t want to go home and would like to stay forever, comments like this mean the world to us.
How do you decide what activities to offer?
My team and I decide which activities have worked well in the past and also come up with new ideas. I hold a guest focus group during each holiday which gives the guests the opportunity to have their say in which activities the enjoy and others they feel don’t work so well. I feel its really important to listen to the guests as it’s their holiday and we want to make it as enjoyable as possible. We look ahead to which guests are coming in the future and because we get to know the guests well, we know which groups like to do more crafts or others who prefer something different. Sometimes I’ll hear before a guest comes that they’d like to go on a certain trip so I’ll ensure we get that sorted for them coming. Some of the simplest ideas work the best, the other night we played Pontoon and it turned out to be a night of hilarity which everyone could join in.
Tell us about the outings you organise for the guests?
The day the guests arrive we’ll go and have a chat with the guests and find out where they’d like to go, if a guest doesn’t know we’ll suggest a few options for them. Some guests like to go out for lunch with other guests, others like to go on a tour of the local distillery, a shopping trip or most recently following the Hare trail which, while it was on was extremely popular.
I’ll book any outings ensuring they are wheelchair accessible if needed so our guests experience runs as smoothly as possible.
What about therapies and beauty treatments?
We offer range of therapies, Indian head massages, reiki, individual or group hyphno relaxation class, hand massages, podiatry, counselling and hairdressing. When the guests first arrive, we’ll ask them which therapies they like and get it organised for them.
Do guests have to get involved with everything that’s going on?
Guests can take part in as much or as little as they like and there’s no pressure to join if they prefer not to. Part of the Leuchie experience is the actual house itself and the peaceful setting. Its so unique and some guests just like to spend time alone relaxing. Others prefer to get involved with everything, its personal preference and its part of what makes a break at Leuchie so revitalising.
What do you get out of working at Leuchie?
I can honestly say this has been the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. Since taking on the managers role I’ve had fantastic support. Being part of the Leuchie team and making a difference to our guests means everything. To see a guest come for the first time looking anxious to seeing them relax and enjoy their holiday, make friends and book to come back again is the best feeling. Sometimes all a guest wants to do is have a chat with a neutral person and you can see the weight lift off their shoulders once they’ve had a chat about whatever is bothering them. And then there’s the laughter, there’s always laughter and usually about something unpredictable. One guest old me recently they were going home with sore stomach muscles from laughing and they’d loved every minute. Leuchie definitely gets under your skin and I feel its where I’m meant to be.
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