East Anglian care homes group boosts staff pay by average of 11%

Stow Healthcare staff outside Stowlangtoft Hall with one holding Living Wage sign

Staff at Stow Healthcare's Stowlangtoft base celebrate a big wages boost across the group - Credit: Stow Healthcare

Employees at a fast-growing East Anglian care homes group have seen their wages leap by an average of 11% this spring after the company decided to take their pay levels above the Real Living Wage to a minimum of £10 an hour.

Stow Healthcare Group, based at Stowlangtoft, near Bury St Edmunds, employs 470 staff across its six care homes across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

It decided to address the cost-of-living crisis by going beyond the National Living Wage, set at £9.50 an hour from April 1, 2022, and beyond the voluntary Real Living Wage rate of £9.90 an hour. It also said it would pay for their breaks.

“The ‘Real Living Wage’ is a voluntary rate paid by over 9000 businesses in the UK and it reflects the real living costs our staff face and represents a much-needed boost for social care staff” said director Ruth French.

“Stow Healthcare has always paid above the National Living Wage, but achieving accreditation now with the Living Wage Foundation demonstrates how important it is to pay our staff a highly competitive rate for the skilled work they perform.”

The company said as well as bringing forward its annual pay increases by two months this year, it is also awarding its staff their birthday off each year as an additional benefit. The measures were reaping benefits on attracting and retaining staff, it said.  

“We have had brilliant feedback from our staff," said Mrs French, who is part of the Catchpole family, which owns the group. 

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"We know that people do not choose a career in social care for the pay, but the reality is that perceptions of social care have changed significantly through the pandemic and people recognize now that not only can they be paid well and have good benefits from an employer like Stow Healthcare, but there are also brilliant opportunities for career progression for nurses, care staff and support roles. I would encourage anyone to make contact and take their next steps with us.”

Stow Healthcare  has won various awards and is currently Care Group of the Year  for two sector awards bodies - the National Care Awards and Caring UK Awards 2021.

The Real Living Wage is voluntarily paid by almost 9,000 UK businesses.

Stow Healthcare owns Brandon Park in Brandon, Cedars Place in Halstead, Ford Place in Thetford, Melford Court in Long Melford and Stowlangtoft Hall near Bury St Edmunds.