Cedar Garden Sessions is back and as always, Hannah, Brand & Web Marketing Officer, is interviewing a member of the Penny Brohn UK team to find out more about them and the work they do behind the scenes to keep our services up and running.

This month, Hannah speaks with Hospitality Manager, Carol Stacey, who first joined Penny Brohn UK 9 years ago as Housekeeping Manager.

Hi Carol, thanks for joining me today, it’s a shame we have to be inside but I managed to forget my coat and the library is a great substitute! 

[Laughs] No problem!

So, Carol, you’ve been here a number of years haven’t you? How did you come to work for Penny Brohn UK?

That’s right, almost 9 actually! Before I worked here, I managed hotels around the South West for 15 years. I was totally worn out and needed a change. I needed somewhere that let me spend more time with my family, and have more me time. I saw the job here as Housekeeping Manager advertised, so I applied…originally I was just going to use this as a stop gap! 9 years later I’m still here, it’s obviously additive! [Laughs]

[Laughs] Wow that’s amazing, it must be alright then! So, what does your role involve?

My role as Hospitality Manager varies from day to day. I deal with all the paying customers coming into the Centre. From the booking enquires, showing potential people around the centre, booking them in, and dealing with all the needs they have, to invoicing them at the end, and most importantly… getting them booked in again. We have been very lucky to have some amazing customers that come and enjoy the Centre and genuinely love the work we do. I also manage the shop as well now, which is a new experience for me, but really helping my shopping addiction! I’m lucky to have some great volunteers helping there, who pretty much keep the day-to-day running under control.

Ah yes, they are a really reliable bunch! So, what is the most exciting thing you are working on at the moment?

There’s not really one specific thing that’s exciting. I have so many balls rolling at once, it’s all exciting! From us opening the Centre to paying customers 3 years ago, to turning people away because we can’t fit them in, is all exciting… watching the money increasing year on year, keeping more and more clients supported.

It must have been really exciting to see it grow from the very start. So what would you say is your favourite part of the job?

Oo, I would say the challenge of finding new customers, and getting them into the Centre in the first place. Once people see the building and what we can offer, they are hooked. Also, I love the team I work with. We are friends as well as work colleagues and this means a lot to me.

That is really great. To have such close colleagues that you can rely on makes all the difference and I think a number of us feel the same here. So, is there a moment that stands out to you as a particular highlight of your time at Penny Brohn so far?

A particular highlight of working for PB has been walking the MoonWalk. Luckily I only signed up for the Half Moon, the Full Moon would have been way beyond me! I have volunteered many times and it’s always such an amazing atmosphere, so I decided I had to join in and roped my husband, sister in law, and her friend in too. Not sure it was such a great idea, as it was only 10 days after our honeymoon. But we did it, and I’m very proud to have been a part of it, but next year I think I’ll stick to volunteering. We thought we were doing ok until at the nine mile mark, when our CEO Laura and her partner Dee virtually ran past us! [Laughs]

[Laughs] Oh well that’s still something to be very proud of! Finally, we’re at our last question and often this is the most contentious of all… what is your favourite dunkable biscuit? 

1. Penguin Bars
2. Gingernuts
3. Custard Creams
4. Caramel Chocolate Digestives
5. Hobnobs
6. Plain Chocolate Digestives
7. Regular Digestives
8. Fox’s Creams
9. Chocolate Fingers

Good question…I don’t actually drink hot drinks…but that doesn’t stop me loving a biscuit! It has to be a plain chocolate digestive.

A strong biscuit choice from yet another non-dunker. There seem to be more of you around than you’d suspect. I’ll take a look at the podium later and make a call on where it sits on the leader board. 

Thanks to Carol for joining me in the Cedar Garden this month. It was great to hear about her 9-year (and increasing) ‘stop-gap’ at Penny Brohn. After some deliberation in the Comms office, the plain chocolate digestive has taken 6th place in the leader board! 

We’ll be back here with another member of the Penny Brohn team next month. So keep an eye out for the next Cedar Garden Sessions.

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