Every Life Matters. Meaning Matters. Moments Matter. People Matter.
Meet the Bewerts...
I have always had a heart for people who are vulnerable. From an early age I knew I wanted to help people to be well and it is ultimately what led me to work in social and health care settings. My nature is a gentle and calming influence and I enjoy being able to make a difference and make people’s day a little brighter.
I have a diverse range of talents which include online shopping, leaving my shoes around the house with the sole intent of annoying my husband and I like to sing country music at the top of my lungs like no one is watching. I also like reading and cooking. I am married to Peter and life is never dull, some describe me as a Saint! (at times, I believe I am)….. Pete and I have two beautiful children together. My special talent is knowing the words to nearly every nursery rhyme.
Despite having many talents, I lack a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ when it comes to drawing and my art repertoire is often confused with the drawings of my 2 and 4 year old!
That’s me in a nutshell.
Who am I? Who do you say I am? The greatest esoteric questions to which we seek answers; the quest for meaning and mattering for our existence.
The real question is why do we care so much and spend a lifetime searching? Well I have stopped searching and started living instead. So my biography will not tell you about the qualifications that I have and labels that people seek for meaning and identity. I matter and have meaning simply by being me.
So who am I?
I am a dad, son, brother, husband, nurse, manager, and many other things to many different people. Mostly I am liked by some and not others. I can cook, play the piano and I can drive people insane through my quirkiness. I like Star Trek and I am unashamed to tell you one of my biggest wishes is to attend a Trekkie convention in full costume as a Klingon.
I am simply Peter. Living life and trying to experience the moments of the good, bad and ugly because they matter and give me meaning. My story means something not just to me but to others who I live life with.
In the words of philosopher Winnie the Pooh – ‘Life is a journey to be experienced and not a problem to be solved.’
So let’s make the moments matter and be meaningful.
But if you really need to know the details of the professional biography, just ask me and I will be happy to tell you…..
I’m originally from Germany and have been a resident in the UK for over 20 years in Brighton. I started my career in Hospitality Management and worked in 5* and 4* Star hotels in Germany and in the UK.
After nearly 20 years in hotels, traveling and living out of a suitcase, I decided to look for a more work-life balanced job where I can plan and stop missing out on so many things I like to do.
I started working in Operations in the charitable sector before I came to work with Peter as Operations Support Manager which is a very diverse role and I’m involved in many things, which makes each day different and varied in so many ways.
I love living in Brighton which I have from the day I arrived in the UK many moons ago, Brighton is cosmopolitan, vibrant and for sure very unique in many ways which suits me perfectly.
I’ve had a very varied work life, ranging from working as a teaching assistant for learners with SEN, to managing business centres.
But my heart belongs to the creative world! In my 20s I wrote plays for Fringe theatres in London, and now my focus is on film. I have my own film production company and am currently developing three features. I’m the curator of Brighton & Hove Pride’s official LGBTQ+ film festival, FilmPride. I’m also interested in sewing, and whilst I’m pretty messy at it, I find it very therapeutic.
I’m a lover of nature and animals and I guess you could call me a Pagan at heart.
Having been born and brought up in Liverpool you would not expect me to be shy about having something to say. Growing up there taught me the importance of family and community. No one is self-made. It is the sacrifices of others who help us make us who we are.
It wasn’t until I was 30 that I began working with people living with a dementia and it changed my life. I worked for the Care Consortium at the UK Alzheimer’s Society where we explored and developed new ideas to support people living with a dementia, staff, volunteers, partners and families. It was a dynamic team and the people I met fired my passion to challenge complacency, controlling care, loneliness and the absence of love that I saw and felt in many of services I worked in and visited at that time.
I have worked with so many inspiring people who have made think hard about what matters most in life and it is my challenge to make what matters a reality for others.
I have worked in the voluntary and private sectors and have been involved in research, product development, media and consultancy. I am happiest being with people delivering learning, particularly in the fields of leadership and ‘train the trainer’.
The best approaches I have learnt in dementia care don’t just apply to people living with a dementia, but to us all.
I now live in South West France with my wife Joy and run a holiday business where the local people have to put up with my terrible French. The pace of life there is very different from what I was used to, and I have had to learn, like my neighbours, to be in the moment.
Amongst my other passions are of course for Liverpool Football Club, being outside ‘doing jobs’ and guitars. My DIY skills are let us say, a work in progress.
I’m a proud Canadian who has recently embraced a new life in London, UK. I have many years’ experience as a graphic artist, and a teacher of adults and children in different parts of the world. I enjoy bringing out the best in people and not forgetting the quietest person in the room, whose voice also needs to be heard. Being creative is at my core and I draw on this as a facilitator to make learning fun and varied. I have worked with people with disabilities as a case manager and prior to joining Meaningful Care Matters, I was an Educator with the first Butterfly homes in Canada run by Choices in Community Living in Alberta. It was life changing to see the transformation of people’s lives and to know that there can be a better way. I feel particularly passionate about older people living with dementia having cared for my mother with dementia. I love nature and animals and am a keen amateur photographer. When I stop travelling so much for my work, I am in desperate need of a dog!
I first recognised that individual well-being grows from person-centred relationships when living in a Buddhist Monastery in France. The teachings of its Zen Monk taught me the importance of living in the present moment. This experience of being in a compassionate community where every moment mattered is at the heart of my work in care. Silent moments of being in touch with people living in dementia care often remind me of the beauty and simplicity of life in the monastery.
As a psychotherapist working in older people’s services and private practice I understand that empathic listening is a powerful source of comfort, understanding and growth. Working in care I found that most people living in care are available for these moments of connection but that many people working in care are not. In many services, carers do not often have the freedom to be present for the people they support. I discovered that culture change was the antidote to this problem when I began working for Dementia Care Matters as a trainer and consultant. Over the last 8 years working in culture change I have learnt that in person-centred services, both the people living and working in them can flourish.
In collaboration with staff working in some exceptional services and outstanding butterfly homes I developed specialist training programmes in Touch, Non-verbal Communication, Attachment and Later Stage Dementia Care and published ‘Embracing Touch in Dementia Care. A Person Centred Approach to Touch and Relationships’, with Jessica Kingsley Publishing.
As an MCM trainer and consultant I draw upon this experience to develop therapeutic cultures of care that truly reflect the lives of the people within them.
When I was about 6, I wanted to be a dog. My adoring grandmother took me for walks in the Sussex woods on a lead and gave me a bowl. She ‘got’ what it means to be with someone in their reality and to love someone unconditionally. My relationship with her has inspired my 30-year career with older people. After a law degree, I trained as a dramatherapist and my training style is shaped by playfulness, energy and a passion that no one should have to sit feeling bored or lonely all day. I have worked in a Social Services department as a dementia specialist, been London Regional Development Officer for the Alzheimer’s Society and Director of Communications for the National Activity Provider Association. During seven years as a Consultant Trainer with Dementia Care Matters, I supported culture change in care services across the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and the USA. I have written a number of publications including Loving, the Essence of Being a Butterfly in Dementia Care and Safe to be Me – Meeting the Needs of Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People using Health and Social Care Services. I long for a day where every care home is truly a home, where people living and working there share the day like family and friends. I am excited to be part of Meaningful Care Matters’ drive to bring love and laughter back into the heart of care.
My passion for working with older people started when I was three months old. That’s when I first visited what was then called “an old people’s home,” where my grandmother was “Matron.”
I fell in love with the people living there and by age 6 I’d worked myself up to the role of Chief Entertainments Officer and Activities Co-ordinator. Every morning I would give a concert after breakfast for residents – I don’t think they had much choice about listening.
That’s where my passion to become a performer started too. I went on to become a professional actor. Life circumstances drew my energies to establishing a charity in my homeland Wales. I’ve worked mainly in the charity sector ever since.
After several roles (including senior management) I became a freelance trainer, facilitator, consultant and coach. I’m delighted to be part of the team at Meaningful Care Matters, where my passions for learning/training and dementia care combine.
My training style is based on ‘brain-friendly learning theory,” so my sessions are hopefully interactive, inspiring, fun and take you on an emotional journey.
Away from work, I love theatre, reading, watching rugby (like most Welshies) and being at home/in the garden with my partner and our 2 cocker spaniels – especially Oscar who gets very excited when I return from training for MCM across the UK and elsewhere.
I started my career in residential care for older people in 1981 at the age of 16 and this soon became a vocation.
After a life changing event in 1993 I was determined to set goals in my life and decided I wanted to make more of a difference to the lives of the people I was caring for.
I have a passion for improving the quality of life for people, as I believe life is precious.
In December 2015 after 34 years of working for the local council I made the decision to leave so I could spend some quality time with my 84-year-old mother.
I love working and being with people and felt that I still needed this, so I am very pleased to be working with Meaningful Care Matters as an Associate Consultant.
My personal life revolves around my family and friends, I love being a social butterfly organising events, celebrations and holidays. I just love life and people!
I came to the world of care work by accident. Whilst looking for a part time job to supplement the family income I saw a job for a residential care worker. Having no idea what that meant I sent off an application form and waited to see what happened. 30 years later I gave up full time work in the care service and looked for something different. I found it in my current role with Meaningful Care Matters.
Sometimes I think I should have done this job earlier but of course had I done so I wouldn’t have the experience that I have now. During my 30 years I worked as a care worker, a shift leader, a home’s Manager, a senior manager and Head of service. Along the way, as well as many courses to help me understand all those roles I studied for my social work diploma, my degree and later Post Grad Diploma in dementia studies.
The care world has changed enormously during those 30 years and I feel so pleased to have contributed to that change. I have met and cared for some amazing people. I have worked alongside some extremely skilled and wonderful care teams. I’ve helped managers deliver the best care for their people whilst balancing ever increasing financial pressures, statutory regulation, staff team dynamics and the support needs of relatives.
The simplest and most challenging thing to remember when working in a care home is the needs of each person.
I was born and raised in Australia and came to the UK in my early twenties. After just one month I met my wife and I’ve lived in Brighton ever since!
I’ve always been fascinated with what it takes to be a great leader. Since my first leadership role at the age of 15, training a group of 20 singers and musicians, I have studied the art of people reading and building teams. I love seeing a productive, cohesive team in action! I’ve spent a lot of time working with charities, faith based organisations and not for profits as well as running my own businesses.
I enjoy travelling, seeing new places and exploring other cultures. One of the best things about living on this side of the world is you’re so close to everywhere! I love eating nice food, going to the movies or theatre, and giving our kids as many life experiences as possible.
I’m excited to be part of the MCM team, helping to bring a positive change in the lives of many people.
I have been a freelance bookkeeper for over 6 years having previously worked in financial roles. Going freelance was a big decision for me as it allowed me to take a step back and gave me the flexibility, I needed to enjoy my family and home.
I have a laid-back attitude and make sure I spend time with people I love, in places I love. Simple things – camping with the kids, holidaying with friends & family, dog walking on the South Downs, swimming off Brighton beach.
As a Mum to three sons I try hard to teach them the importance of being in the moment and being happy with who you are.
I consider myself a friendly person, a bit gullible, but a brilliant multi-tasker. I have twin boys and a daughter who keep me busy when I’m not drawing.
I always knew from an early age that I wanted to be an artist. My workspace is always very messy but I like to think that the end result is worth the mess! As I child I was a big fan of animated movies and always thought about creating characters. I love drawing cartoons, working with watercolours and sketching.
I love travelling and love nothing more than relaxing on a beach (with a cocktail). I enjoy movies, shopping and eating out.
My life has been filled with lots of love, excitement, some sadness and challenges, but throughout I have always had a passion to help people. When I was 8 years old, I joined St. Johns Ambulance Brigade and there started my passion of wanting to care for people and to become a nurse just like my mum and join other family members who are in caring professions.
I started my nursing career at 18 years old in Stockport, Cheshire, UK, and I have enjoyed many aspects of nursing throughout my career from being a front line nurse in acute care, community and hospice, a manager of a palliative home care program, educator and in more recent years being part of a culture change in caring for people with dementia.
I now live in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies with my husband and our big fat ginger Manx cat called Mr. Finn. Our children are all grown up and live in many different places including Canada, Australia, USA and the Isle of Man. Family is very important to me and it is growing with the addition of beautiful grandchildren.
My life is never dull, and I have been blessed to have experienced exciting things such as climbing the Sydney harbour bridge and riding around the Isle of Man TT course on the back of my husband’s Ducati 750 motorbike. I feel privileged to be able to hike in the Canadian Rockies and enjoy the beautiful landscape, nature and wildlife it has to offer. I love to travel and experience new cultures and take my love of photography with me. I love to go to the movies, listen to music and reading. I enjoy a variety of music genre including Latino, and Celtic. My favourite read is crime novels and I love Lynda La Plante.
“Being yourself” “challenging yourself” “laugh” and “be kind to yourself” are key ingredients in enjoying life and passing on positivity in all the connections you make.
Uyen Thuy Nguyen
What do you do when you get out of University after studying business and political science? You get a job in marketing of course. I started my career out as an Operations Manager and Brand Marketing Director for a Construction and Disaster Restoration company in Toronto. It was there I met my husband and where I was able to grow professionally. After 8 years, I needed a change of pace, which led me to work in the finance department of a long term care home.
It was working in the health sector that made me realize that human connections and interactions are so important, and I often found myself wandering out of my office to go visit and sit with my friends in the home. This is what ultimately led me to come to Meaningful Care Matters.
My days are now best spent having mini adventures with my little girl and two dogs, which can range from a walk to the park, going to the beach or going to pick fruit. I also love dragging my husband around to museums, carnivals and galleries.
A red line of disturbance, creativity and renewal runs through my life.
Pennies were tight at home while growing up in Australia. On turning 14 my mother stated I must leave school and find work. I went for an interview to work on an assembly line in a shoe factory. When told I could begin the following week, I burst into tears and spoke of how I did not want the job, that I loved school. The interviewer was wonderful, and introduced me to the world of scholarships and bursaries. This experience taught me clearly that there are choices for a better world, if I am prepared to speak my truth beyond my shame in pursuit of what I want. I found my voice for my freedom.
I am excited by change and challenge. By the 1970’s my curiosity took me to India then overland to the UK. While living in the UK I became an eager participant in the ‘Human Potential Movement’. It was indeed a ‘movement’, an explosive and exciting time, a reaction to traditional modes of psychotherapy. I became co-director of Community- University of the Person 1973-1980, London’s second largest growth center. Work took me also to Sweden, Germany and Holland. And yes -I fell in love with a Canadian; we married and have 2 sons and now 6 adorable grandchildren. Later we moved to Portugal.
A momentous life change brought me to Canada in 2005. I began a deep dive into the field of health care and employee engagement. The fact that so many healthcare workers spend their days at work ‘disengaged’ calls up my most passionate voice in reaction to such subverted, unrealized waste. “My lens has always been to keep searching for that ignition point of ‘care’ in the individual and to then support spread through the team. When individuals come alive, care and join together, we are fuelled to change workplace cultures. I co-authored a book, “The Engagement Radical Network. An Innovative Approach to Change in Healthcare”. It records and celebrates the spirit of individuals who dare to take action to positively influence their workplace culture, resulting in compassionate person centered care.
I say the ‘e’ at the end of my name is for enthusiasm, engagement and energy. I love my life. Being connected to wonderful friends world wide, my family, reading, theatre, renovating old houses, writing poetry, creating felted wearable art and most of all conversations with others.
If there is a potential positive change in the air, you can expect to see me there.
Living a life full of change and transformation with many ups and downs has brought me to different work environments, thankfully giving me the opportunity to always be social and connected with people. After working many years as a Social Worker, I have been enriched by others sharing their life journey and experiences, allowing me to work with heart to be real and genuine with others.
I am blessed to have experienced people in my life who have impacted me for “a season, a reason or a lifetime.” Change brings growth and appreciation of what we can give to others. I live my life with an ‘attitude of gratitude’ for everything and everyone who allows me to be creative and productive in my work.
I am a mom, a wife, a sister, a grandmother and a caring friend to the amazing people I have in my life. Since 2015 after coming out of the mountains of BC, where my husband and I had thought we would retire, (not to be so), I was fortunate to be hired as Educator at Lifestyle Options Retirement Communities and provided the first Butterfly Project training to staff. Since I had recently lost very close family members to dementia, doing this work, growing and learning how we can make a difference in the lives of people living with dementia and the people who work with them has impacted me to the core. I am so grateful be working with an incredible team at Meaningful Care Matters, as this work has fueled my passion to create caring and loving environments that tenderly honor people living with dementia.
Rebecca wants to live in a world filled with innovative businesses, compassionate people who want to make a difference by creating social change for our ageing population and a force field around her keyboard that repels cats and sticky fingered toddler nephews.
As a compassionate CX disruptor with more than 10 years of experience in the aged care sector, she’s developed social care models, project management, customer engagement and operations management. She is known for being a valued collaborator not just in Australia but internationally driving social change projects for ALL people diagnosed with dementia and the wider community.
When she’s not thinking of new projects to rope people into across the sector and helping small business owners humanise their branding efforts, you can find her cooking a medium-rare steak with wilted greens and garlic mashed potato, exercising barefoot or answering “why” for the eleventy-bajillionth time from her gorgeous little nephews.
Her vision is to create a world where all ageing people feel empowered to give back to society so they can always be treated with dignity and respect through compassionate interaction and communication.