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Care boss celebrates 30 years saying caring is ‘in his blood’

A charity boss, who started out as a volunteer aged 12, is celebrating 30 years in social care with a promotion to chief of people.

Phil Orton, 48, has been named chief people officer at national adult health & social care charity Making Space, which has its headquarters in Warrington, Cheshire.

Phil, who also volunteers as a Scout leader also sit as Chair of the NCF HR Forum, began his working life as a care assistant at The Cedars residential home in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, at the age of 17.

Despite leaving school with few qualifications, his aptitude for caring was quickly spotted and he was promoted to supervisor after just 10 months. By the age of 25, Phil was managing the 42-bed New Milton House care home in nearby Alsager.

The father of two, who never saw himself as ‘academic’ at school, went on to complete multiple qualifications in health and social care while working full-time and then turned his attention to leadership and coaching training. He gained a master’s degree in management in 2006.

Phil joined Making Space in 2017 as executive director of HR and his new job will see him heading up three departments within the charity, which employs over 1,000 people all over the UK.

Phil said: “I am thrilled to have been named chief people officer at Making Space and will give my all every day to support the charity, the people who work for us and the people we support.

“After 30 years in the care profession, I know it has always been in my blood.

“Both my parents worked in nursing and my dad was a senior nurse manager for people with learning disabilities. From the age of 12 I would go to work with him and do crafts and cooking as a volunteer. Even then, I knew I wanted to work in social care.”

Phil says that much of his success is down to the social care managers who saw his potential and gave him opportunities to progress when he joined the profession as a teenager.

“I was very lucky that some senior people I worked with helped me to develop, nurture and support me,” he said.

“The encouragement I received throughout my career inspired me to become a leader.

“Good services need happy employees, and happy employees need good leaders. There are no outstanding services with poor leaders.”

Rachel Peacock is the CEO of Making Space. She said: “Phil’s natural affinity for leadership, his ability to see the potential in people and help them to develop personally and professionally are a huge asset to each of the three departments he now leads.
“His commitment to delivering quality, his willingness to roll up his sleeves and join his teams on the frontline, and, of course, his vast experience in every area of social care are just some of the reasons we expanded his role.

“He is a pioneer in social care: as he says, it’s something that’s always been in his blood and for him it’s a vocation, not a job. Making Space, and the social care sector, are incredibly lucky to have him.”

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