Each month we speak to a local resident or business owner to get their take on the Village. What brought them here and why did they stay? This month: Hampstead through the eyes of Robert Stephenson-Padron, Managing Director of Penrose Care and just named ‘Most Outstanding Leader in the Care Sector’ for 2014.
How long have you been in Hampstead?
I’ve lived in NW3 since Jan 2010 and have been a business leader in the community since July 2012.
What brought you to Hampstead?
I was attracted to the fact that Hampstead has an incredible village feel, despite the fact it’s not far from Central London. Also, many of my closest friends live in NW3 and I wanted to be nearer to them.
What was the thinking behind setting up Penrose Care in Hampstead?
Penrose Care was set up to be the pioneer of ethics in home care. It is true that we could have probably set up anywhere in London, but we wanted our organisation to be highly engaged with the community we knew and loved, and to do that, we had to be based in Hampstead.
What is its place in the community?
Penrose Care is both a provider of excellent care services to the NW3 and wider London community and increasingly, a symbol of what care in England should be. We are currently the only home care services provider within a five mile radius of NW3 that has a 5/5 star rating on NHS Choices.
We’ve also honoured the community by receiving recognition for our pioneering work on ethics in care at Penrose Care. This work has been covered by the likes of BBC News, Sky News, and the Guardian. In addition, on November 13th, I was named the UK’s “Most Outstanding Leader in the Care Sector” in 2014. I think such developments really raise the profile of our community.
In addition, Penrose Care regularly supports community activities such as the Hampstead Christmas Festival and Summer Festival. We’ve also provided charitable support to the Marie Curie Hospice Hampstead.
Has it achieved what you thought it would in the area?
In terms of building the pioneer of ethics in home care in the UK – yes. Penrose Care is one of the first four home care providers in the UK to be an Accredited Living Wage Employer and also the first – and currently only – independent sector home care provider to be compliant with Citizens UK’s landmark Social Care Charter, an ethical charter for social care providers.
However, we are still young and have a lot of growth ahead of us. A lot of people are still not aware that a care provider like Penrose Care – an ethical one – exists, and as more and more people learn about us, we expect to continue to grow at a healthy rate.
What would be your recommendation for a newcomer to the area to familiarise themselves?
To those moving to NW3, my best recommendation would be to get out and explore the area! It’s so beautiful and there is so much to see and do. Don’t get stuck in your home.
Any upcoming festivals that people ‘must’ see?
The Christmas Fair in November.
What are your top three favourite things about Hampstead?
My three favourite things in Hampstead are 1) the cohesive community feel, 2) the beauty, especially of places like Fenton House and Hampstead Heath, and 3) the incredible amenities such as the cafes and restaurants.
Where do you like to go that no one else knows?
The Vale of Heath is a really beautiful area to walk around and you really don’t see too many people there.
Where are your favourite places for brunch and lunch?
Belsize Kitchen, Ginger & White, Mani’s Café, Oliver’s Café.
What about drinks and dinner?
The Wells is a favourite for drinks, before dinner at L’Antica Pizzeria.
Can you recommend a secret spot to escape?
Fenton House – but the opening hours are sometimes a bit restrictive!
What makes the area special for you?
I’m an expat so here my friends are my family and NW3 is where many of my friends live.
What is your favourite thing about Hampstead in Autumn / Winter?
The prospect of getting some delicious mulled wine at the Hampstead Christmas Festival.