About Us

who we are, what we do & our history

Hello, we are Care Forum and we are a family-run business providing support for children and families with disabilities. We all work very hard to provide high standards of care and have been awarded an Outstanding rating by the Care Quality Commission who regulate us.

We started in 2005 when Kerry Swan decided she wanted to employ her own team of carers to start a worthwhile enterprise using her 25 years of Social Work and care experience. All required policies, procedures and paperwork are written by us and tailored to our families’ needs. We are not an ‘off-the-shelf’ franchise and see each child as a unique individual deserving of a personalised service.

We exist to make life a bit easier for the whole family by giving you, as parents, carers or siblings, a break from looking after your child with a disability so that you can re-charge your batteries and enjoy the time you have with them.

We provide enthusiastic, experienced and qualified carers. We can help with the daily care routines, take the kids to the park, zoo, cinema or swimming or we can help with complex needs such as gastrostomy feeds and epilepsy.

If this sounds like something you need then you can contact your local Social Services Children with Disabilities Team who will assess whether you qualify for funding.

We also provide care to families on Direct Payments and those who wish to pay privately. Contact us for more details.

CONTACT US

Kerry Swan

Kerry Swan

Founding Director – Kerry Swan is the founding Director of Care Forum (MK) Ltd. She has a social work qualification, a Degree in Applied Social Studies, NNEB (nursery nursing) and an NVQ Level 5 in Operational Management.

Kerry worked for Bedfordshire Social Services for 25 years. Her last post was as the Head of Disabilities for Bedfordshire.

As Kerry sits at a desk all day she likes to go for long walks or swimming. She is learning the piano to keep her brain active and in her spare time paints with water colours or writes psychological thrillers under her real name of Kerena Swan. Her fourth novel will be published soon.

EMAIL KERRY

Keith Swan

Director – Keith Swan is a Director for Care Forum.

Keith has reams of knowledge about a wide range of subjects and has the ability to make IT equipment work again just by turning it off and on after we have already tried that.

Keith is responsible for the Company finances including payroll, invoicing, and accounts. He just can’t keep his desk tidy.

Keith enjoys the odd game of golf (Lynn says his playing can be a bit odd) and watching football.

EMAIL KEITH

Lynn Bracey

Lynne Bracey

Deputy Manager – Lynn Bracey has worked for Care Forum since the company was created, initially as a carer then Team Leader and now Deputy Manager.

Previously a carer for the elderly she has worked and studied hard over the years and now has an NVQ 3 in Children and Young People, an NVQ 4 in Management and an NVQ 5 in Health and Social Care. Lynn has also completed numerous short courses and is qualified to teach the team safe moving and handling.

Lynn is very serious about her job and her golf, especially when she is challenging Keith to a game.

EMAIL LYNN

Tamara Rowe-Bullen

Team Leader – Tamara Rowe-Bullen is a registered nurse with 16 years of experience.

Tamara is Team Leader for the Bedford area. Tamara is trained to teach the team about medication management, epilepsy and rescue medications.

She has a busy family and demanding cat to look after but is still a workaholic who has to be forced to take annual leave. She takes a little less persuasion to go shopping or visit Snoopy exhibitions.

EMAIL TAMARA

Daphne Hayward

Daphne

Team LeaderDaphne Hayward has been with Care Forum since 2006 and is the Team Leader for the Aylesbury area.

Daphne has years 20 years of experience working in schools for children with special needs and before that was a police officer. Daphne uses her numerous contacts to recruit fantastic part time carers who are very experienced and qualified and has literally built her own team.

Daphne finds that her work, grandchildren and house renovation prevent her from having time for hobbies although she does enjoy a spot of gardening.

EMAIL DAPHNE

Lucy Bascom

Lucy Bryant

Team Leader – Lucy Bascom (née Bryant) has been with us since 2014 and is the team leader for the Bigglewade area. Lucy has over ten years’ experience working with children with special educational needs with various complex and life limiting medical needs.  Most of Lucy’s free time is spent answering numerous questions from her curious young son or chasing after her toddler as he tries to eat his brother’s pet snail.

EMAIL LUCY

Tia Diack

Office Manager – Tia Diack works almost full time in the office as well as supporting one of the Care Forum children.

Tia has been with us since October 2015 and makes sure we do everything we are supposed to do and keeps us in order. Keith draws the line at her tidying his desk though.

Tia has a Degree in English and her favourite pastimes are cooking with her daughter and walking with her three pugs.

EMAIL TIA

Karen Elliott

Karen

Home Support Worker – Karen has been a registered nurse for 33 years and has supported children with complex needs for 27 years.

Karen is a popular worker with families as she is calm, thorough and kind. Karen says she will only ever work for Care Forum now and loves her job.

Darren Clayton

Home Support Worker – Darren has been with Care Forum for 18 months after hearing about Care Forum from a friend and wanting a complete career change.

Darren had knowledge of children with autism through teaching Aikido (like Tai Chi) and has personal family experience of autism.

Darren is very popular with teenage lads who he takes to rugby matches, climbing, swimming, walking and even shopping! Darren visits the gym and cinema in his spare time and enjoys cooking.

Angela Playle

Home Support WorkerAngela has worked in the childcare field since 2004, most recently as a SENCO and as a Family Support and Outreach Worker supporting vulnerable families with children.

What a parent said about Angela…  Angela is an excellent carer, she is extremely professional and is able to bring calm and experience to her role. She has a very sociable approach, which means that she works well with both parents and children. She has a wide number of experiences and strategies to draw on and that is evidenced in her ability to take the heat out of situations and ensure that parents can enjoy a worry free session.

Alison Gyau-Awuah

Home Support Worker – Alison has worked with children with special educational needs on a 1:1 basis in a nursery and a children’s centre.

Alison is extremely hardworking, organised and reliable. Alison is very caring and professional and understands the needs of the children and families she supports.

Could this be you?

Do you want to do something worthwhile and still get paid? Due to receiving a steady stream of new referrals we always need to recruit more. Do you have a passion for supporting children with disabilities?

We particularly welcome students who are studying Social Work, Teaching, Nursing or Health and Social Care.

Visit our vacancies page to find out more.

Our History

Kerry decides it is finally time to leave her safe job with the Council where she has worked for 25 years in Social Care to set up her own team of carers. Kerry starts Care Forum from nothing and with a few savings in the bank to tide her over she advertises for workers. Her friend Lynn and ex-colleague Alexis join later in the year and Care Forum is born. A small back bedroom and a computer serve us well.
With a team of 8 and a handful of families to support in Milton Keynes Care Forum is now up and running. Kerry works as a Management Consultant for Luton Council as well as running Care Forum to keep the cash flow going. Alexis (wo)mans the office during the day. We start providing services for Northants and we move to a bigger office – a large front room in Kerry’s new house. Daphne joins the team and by the year end we have 30 families supported by 12 full and part-time staff. Keith offers his skills with preparing invoices, payroll and book-keeping.
Despite only planning to work for 3 months part time Kerry is now working full time for the Council on various projects and running Care Forum evenings and weekends. She ploughs all her earnings into the business. By the end of 2007 we have 24 staff looking after 60 children. In this year we start working for Bucks County Council. Lynn is promoted to Team Leader.
Tamara, who is a qualified nurse, joins the team after she is unfairly treated by her current employer. Their loss is certainly our gain! We start working for Bedfordshire County Council and we now have 100 families to support. Kerry tries to reduce her work in Luton but doesn’t succeed until August then provides training days to Social Workers in Barnet and Bucks. CSCI (now the CQC) award Care Forum the highest rating of quality with 3*** ‘Excellent Service’.
Keith is persuaded by his family to give up the day job and dedicate all of his time to Care Forum sorting out all payroll, finances, IT and accounts. At last he can add himself to the payroll list and receive some remuneration for his efforts. CSCI inspect us again and deem us still worthy of a 3*** Excellent rating. Bedfordshire County Council splits into two Local Authorities and we now provide services for Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council. Kerry gives up the consultancy and training work by the end of this year to dedicate all her time to Care Forum.
Julie Joins Care Forum after running a nursery for 5 years. Care Forum is asked to support children with disabilities who are excluded from school and we have a team of 8 staff who help children integrate back into school by managing challenging behaviours and working closely with teachers. Care Forum now supports over 140 children and families with a team of almost 80 staff. Lynn is promoted to Deputy Manager.
Helen joins the team as an administrator and the office is never quiet again. Tamara and Julie are promoted to Team Leaders following rigorous interviews. The office is too small to cope with all the paperwork and amount of people that need to be there. The search for a bigger office begins in earnest.
After a long-winded buying process we finally move to a much larger office in Aspley Guise. Keith now has his own desk and the mess begins to grow. Keith amazes us with his ability to find documents from the heap that surrounds him. We introduce the ‘Extra Mile Award’ for workers who go above and beyond what they are expected to do.
The CQC visit our new premises and inspect our service. We receive the 5 green ticks which now denote our ability to meet all requirements. We mourn the loss of the ratings system which showed we were above average for quality of care. Alexis sadly leaves us after 8 years for a new challenge with the Council’s Legal Department and Hannah steps in to help. Lynn trains as a trainer for safe handling and moving and sets about training new team members.
Hannah goes back to nursing so Tia joins the team to keep the office in order alongside Helen. Tamara trains to teach staff about Epilepsy and Rescue medication. Helen complains she hasn’t won the extra mile award yet.
Lynn celebrates 10 years of working with Care Forum and receives a bonus for her commitment. Helen wins the extra inch award. Kerry holds a fund-raising pamper evening and donates the proceeds to Thomley Hall, a charity close to our hearts. We now have over 100 staff and 200 families.
Helen gets a 1st for her teaching degree but still works for us part-time. Keith tidies his desk at last (probably). We enter an award for the Best Employers in Care. Our team fills in surveys and say lovely things about us. We are finalists for the Best Business in Bedfordshire Awards. Do we win these? Log on again soon to find out the results.
This year we bask in the glory of our ‘Outstanding’ rating from the CQC for the categories Caring, Responsive and Well-Led and our Runner-up award for the Best Business in Bedfordshire. We have more referrals than we can cope with and do our utmost to recruit more staff.
Busy, busy, busy. There are so many families needing support we can’t recruit workers quickly enough. Competition from other agencies is rapidly diminishing and referrals increasing. Please tell your friends, neighbours, hairdresser and family about us. We need more carers!
Another year, another inspection and again we are rated as Outstanding for the categories Caring, Responsive and Well-Led. According to our inspector this is a major achievement as it is even harder to sustain Outstanding than it is to be awarded it for the first time. Care Forum continues to employ a team of hard-working, loyal and dedicated carers.
The Covid-19 pandemic turns the whole world on its head and almost everything grinds to a halt but we at Care Forum MK continue to provide essential support for families with our steadfast and devoted staff team. We avert family crises and parental breakdowns, help prevent children from suffering severe anxiety and agoraphobia, keep children safe and enable keyworker parents to carry on nursing and delivering food.