At our care facility in Cambridgeshire, we’re waving an emotional goodbye to two of our long-standing members of staff.
After providing an amazing 20 years of combined service, Isaac and Nikki Ajibade are set to retire from their roles, leaving behind the legacy they’ve worked so hard to build at our family-run community.
Isaac, our longest-serving lead nurse, who specialises in long-term degenerative conditions of young people, has helped to completely transform our care offering, alongside his wife Nikki, a specialist nurse in dementia care. They have become an integral part of our culture, and are regarded by all as extended members of the family.
Isaac joined Askham in 2012, and currently manages Askham Place, one of the five independent care units that make up our care facility in Cambridgeshire. When he first joined, we had three units on-site – and have since expanded our offering and expertise to cater for a broader range of care needs.
Nikki, one of our nurses at Askham House, which specialises in dementia, has left just as big an impact on her care recipients, gaining recognition as a driver in providing excellent care. She’s also widely appreciated for her ability to empower her fellow colleagues to reach their full potential.
Speaking of the couple’s remarkable service, Aliyyah, our director, said: “Isaac and Nikki are Askham institutions. They have been with us for many years, and to be honest, I can’t imagine Askham without them. Their legacy will be here for years to come.
“Ever since they first started with us, they have always been part of the life and soul of Askham. I have so many fond memories, particularly of when we would celebrate the diversity at Askham through international days. Isaac would always don his native Nigerian attire, much to the delight of the residents!
“As a lead nurse of Askham Place for almost a decade, he has witnessed the many high and lows of working in social care, but has always remained focused on providing the very best care for his residents.”
She continued: “Nikki is just as dedicated to her dementia residents in Askham House, and her personality shines through in all she does. Just like a proud motherly figure, she runs a tight ship but always makes sure everyone is smiling. Most recently, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been what can only be described as a true soldier, motivating her team and ensuring residents were comfortable amidst incredibly trying circumstances.
“On behalf of everyone associated with Askham, we can’t thank both of them enough for all the vulnerable people they have provided excellent care for, and the countless staff they have empowered and supported over their years here.”
The couple, who married in 1979, met at the school of nursing in Nigeria in 1976. They have three adult children, who work in the US, Ghana and Nigeria respectively. Last Christmas, their children and grandchildren visited Askham during a holiday to the UK, much to the enjoyment of residents and staff – a testament to how much they are perceived as extended members of our family.
Set to retire at the end of April, Isaac and Nikki, who have lived and worked in the UK for 19 years, have exciting plans to open a care home in Nigeria that’s founded on the same model as Askham. The building for the home, which will cater for 18 residents, has already been built and will provide nursing and dementia care, with future plans to provide neuro care, too.
Speaking of the timing of their move, Isaac, 55, said: “In life, we are in stages. The main thing is to move when you are strong and when you’re able to do the things you want to. We feel we have achieved three-quarters of what we want in life! My children are grown and I’m happy they’re all in good places, so the next thing is to go and enjoy the latter part of our lives where we can do good and rewarding work that brings us joy.
“We will be using Askham as a source of inspiration for our approach, with a key focus being on the real sense of togetherness we feel here. Askham’s owners care for the place, for the staff, for the residents and it’s this we want to emulate ourselves in Nigeria. To care for people, you need to be compassionate. People need help and I’m always very happy when I’m helping people.”
Aliyyah concluded: “They’re so dedicated to our residents, and we know they will apply that same dedication to their endeavours in Nigeria. We’re all excited to see it come to fruition and will be doing all we can to support it from afar and we wish them all the very best.”