South London Care Home Pioneer Programme

Project Overview

The South London Care Home Pioneer Programme is a nine-month programme, run by the Health Innovation Network and My Home Life England, aimed at improving leadership skills and promoting the professional development of senior care home staff (Pioneers) in South London.

Through face-to-face workshops, action learning, mentor support and a Service Improvement (SI) Project, the programme helps Pioneers advance their skills, facilitate personal growth and enable them to effectively manage the complex everyday issues that impact the quality of their service.

The programme, now in its fifth cohort, has supported more than 120 Pioneers from all 12 boroughs of South London.

The current 2023 Pioneer Programme is open to care home managers, deputies, and senior nurses, working in the following settings: older person’s residential homes, older person’s nursing homes, learning disability and mental health care settings, and supported living settings.

The programme is provided free to attendees and Cohort 5 2023 is kindly supported by NHS England London region, South East London Integrated Care System (SEL ICS), South West London Integrated Care System (SWL ICS), London Borough of Bromley, Royal Borough of Greenwich and London Borough of Southwark.

The programme offers support to care home managers to:

  • increase resilience and reduce burn-out;
  • advance their leadership skills and strategies;
  • drive forward a small service improvement project;
  • improve staff morale;
  • improve relationships with external agencies.

The programme includes:

  • Four face-to-face workshops
  • Nine action learning sets - experiential learning through a process of action, learning and reflection
  • A Service Improvement project, where each Pioneer is supported by a Mentor to make an improvement within their care home and create a poster to showcase the results
  • A celebratory event to make the end of the programme, share achievements and showcase Service Improvement posters with funders and other stakeholders

Service improvement projects in previous years have included: improving hydration and nutrition, managing deterioration, dementia education for staff and relatives, mouth care, end-of-life care, staff wellbeing and communication. Have a look at the poster booklet shown in the resources below.

Feedback from Cohort 4 Pioneers, 2022 Programme

“The Health Innovation Network and the support from My Home Life England team has boosted my confidence, skills, and knowledge in working jointly with the multidisciplinary team.”

“This is a safe space for creative minds, a safe space for innovative ideas, where we learn to implement change.”

“It has increased my self-confidence and has given me the opportunity share my experience and acquire more knowledge from people's experience too.”

“The programme has been a source of inspiration, motivation and learning. I have met amazing people and enhanced my leadership skills.

Learn more about the programme with these resources below:

We're here to help

For more information, please contact us

Get in touch

Related Pages

  1. Applications open for HIN and My Home Life’s Care Home Pioneer Programme 2023 Cohort 5 published in March 2023:
  1. On 7 December 2022, the Health Innovation Network welcomed participants from the 2022 cohort of the programme to their celebration event. The day recognised all the Pioneers’ achievements over the course of the programme. Andrea Carter, the Community and Care Home Programmes Theme Programme Director, reflected on the day and the importance of supporting the professional development of care home leaders in this blog, ‘Investing in our Care Home Leaders’, published in February 2023:
  1. With more people living with dementia, it’s important that care home leaders feel well equipped in supporting those living with it. Dr Caroline Chill, the Clinical Director for the Community and Care Home Programmes Theme at the Health Innovation Network, spoke at the 16th UK Dementia Congress in Birmingham on ‘Using leadership development to improve the quality of care provided to people living with dementia’. Read her blog published in December 2022:
  1. Applications open for HIN and My Home Life’s Care Home Pioneer Programme 2022 published in February 2022:
  1. In December 2021, Cohort 3 celebrated the conclusion of their programme with a graduation event. Part of Cohort 3’s programme took place amidst the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning that all sessions were held via Zoom. As a result, the graduation event presented an opportunity for the Pioneer care home leaders to meet in person for the first time. In our blog, ‘Reflections on Cohort 3’s Care Home Pioneers Graduation event’, George Croft, the HealthyAgeing Team’s Project Support Officer, share his views on the day: