Treasured childhood memories have come flooding back for Helen Pervaiz in her role as matron at a north west care home for veterans.

Helen worked in the NHS for 30 years in a variety of roles, initially as a ward staff nurse before moving into community psychiatric nursing. 

In 2008, she began specialising in caring for older people and those with dementia and spent 16 years in total working across care homes in the Tameside and Glossop areas.

But, when the chance came along to join Broughton House Veteran Care Village in Salford, she knew it was meant to be.

She used to frequently visit Broughton House as a youngster to spend precious time with her maternal grandfather Henry Atkinson, a former serviceman who lived there for several years before he passed away in the mid-1980s.

Helen, 52, a mother-of-two who lives in Bury, said: “I have clear memories of the old Broughton House building and its grandeur, and my visits to see my grandpa with my parents when I was a schoolgirl. He was a widower, and moved in because he had become frail due to various health problems.

“We used to come to Broughton House every week or two, and it was always a special time for me.

“I’d not been back since he passed away and it’s been a wonderful and emotive experience coming to work here. It’s as if it was meant to be – that the job had my name on it. 

“I feel a very special connection to Broughton House. The home has been completely transformed into a phenomenal modern complex, but retains the same amazing aura and sense of belonging about it.”

Helen is responsible for overseeing, managing and supervising the nursing team and working with staff at all levels across the care village to ensure excellence in its standards of clinical care – physical, emotional and psychological – and the promotion of wellbeing for each resident.

She said: “It’s an absolutely golden opportunity for me, as it combines my passion for the care of the individual with a desire to continually drive and raise standards across the home.

“We have a great team who have a strong sense of purpose for what they are doing – delivering the care that our current residents and the veterans of the future deserve. 

“I have a real keen interest in wanting to be part of caring for the veterans of the future and shaping the service provision at Broughton House. It’s a privilege to care for our veterans of World War Two and those who since then have undertaken national service and served in post-war conflicts.

“I like some of the traditional ideas of the matron’s role, such as the dedication to standards, dogged determination and perseverance, but it’s also about promoting and delivering person-centred care in a modern way, being open with staff and fully engaging with residents and their families. I’m nothing like the image of the austere, bustling and comedic matron portrayed in the Carry On films.”

Karen Miller, chief executive of Broughton House, said the matron has a key role at the home.

She said: “For our residents, matron is a trusted person who ensures the best standards of care are met. Helen’s presence is hugely reassuring to our veterans and their families. For staff, matron acts as a role model and provides professional support for our nurses and carers.

“Helen has immense experience, is calm and well-organised, has warmth and empathy, and gets things done in the right way. She is also a focal point for our staff, and it’s an important post as it involves overseeing a large team. In an increasingly complex healthcare environment for staff, they know they can turn to matron when they need support, assurance and guidance.”

Broughton House has cared for more than 8,000 veterans since it opened its doors to the ex-service community in 1916. It has recently been redeveloped into a complex with a 64-bed care home, including two 16-bed households dedicated to veterans with dementia, as well as independent living apartments, an array of modern facilities, a museum, gym, hairdressing and barber’s salon, and a restaurant and bar for residents.