Age is no barrier to happiness and success at Heart of the Lakes

Paddy recently marked 23 years of service.

Paddy recently marked 23 years of service.

Green Hotelier recently discussed issues of social equality and inclusion in the hospitality industry. In this Talking Point, Heart of the Lakes owner Sue Jackson talks about why it’s important to them to create opportunities and value staff no matter what their age.

With working lives being extended, as life expectancy rises and public health improves, working longer and later in our lives will become a reality for many. As a forward facing company we are embracing our more mature employees and last month, Heart of the Lakes celebrated the birthday – and service - of one of our longest standing staff members.

Michael Davidson, known to all as ‘Paddy’, recently celebrated his 80th birthday and he has been an employee with our family firm for more than 23 years.

Starting with the company in 1993, Paddy, who was born in the Lake District, started work at Rydal Holme property, assisting with maintenance and vehicle service. These days, he can be found mainly in the laundry room, although as he explains, he likes to do ‘a bit of everything’.

“I enjoy working at Heart of the Lakes. It’s a great working environment and the management are very good to me. Although I now only officially work two days per week, I often pop in when I shouldn’t be here as I like the company and it’s important to keep busy whilst I still can,” says Paddy. “The team presented me with an 80th birthday cake and balloons on the big day, which was lovely.”

Heart of the Lakes can trace its history back to 1975 when we had just one property. We now manage and let more than 300 properties, all within the boundaries of the national park. Renowned across the region for our exemplary work with local charitable and community initiatives for more than 20 years, at Heart of the Lakes we prioritise community, environment and personal service to our customers ahead of profit. Happily we were crowned winners of the ‘community involvement’ award at the CN Group Business Awards, in October 2014.

I feel our unique approach, in addition to placing value on employees is key to our growth and success.

I feel wholeheartedly that we need to place a high value on a diverse workforce and I believe our business is strengthened by a wide range of skills and expertise. Paddy has, together with the rest of the team, been instrumental in building Heart of the Lakes into what it is today. Each employee is an important part of the team and we don’t see age as any sort of barrier. On the contrary, our most ‘mature’ employees possess a wealth of knowledge and experience that can only be seen as a positive. Paddy still works for us, performing an integral function and we’re happy for him to stay as long as he feels able. We tried to thank him in a small way for his continued efforts and contribution.

And Paddy is not the only long standing member of the team. My partner Chris Jackson, is due to celebrate his 27th year with the firm this year and our employees Dot Ingall and Lynn Logan are marking 18 and 20 years respectively.

We have a considerable number of long-standing employees at Heart of the Lakes and we’re very pleased that they all stay. I firmly believe that the company wouldn’t be what it is without them.

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