Meet the caretaker

Claude Davis – caretaker, Bramley Community Centre

As caretaker of Bramley Community Centre, Claude Davis is responsible for the day-to-day running of the centre, including opening and closing, setting up the rooms with the right furniture and layouts, cleaning, health and safety, odd bits of maintenance, makingClaude Davis sure things like toilet rolls are properly stocked up and, above all, making sure the groups are welcomed and looked after. But he doesn’t just do this in Bramley – he has similar responsibilities for Strawberry Lane in Armley, Evolution House in Holbeck and Apex in Hunslet. So he has a long day, often from about 6.15 am – 5.00pm.

As well as BEA tea dances, exercise and craft groups, the centre is used by the popular Bramley History Group, luncheon clubs, youth groups and a church group.

“There is so much they could tell you. I like to hear where they’re at and where they was.”

Claude’s been doing this job for 18 years, and has been at Bramley for the last 10. He enjoys caretaking. He gets particular satisfaction from meeting the older people who use the centre and from hearing about their lives, especially when stories surprise him. As Claude says “There is so much they could tell you. I like to hear where they’re at and where they was.” Claude knows most of the people who come regularly to groups. He feels strongly that it’s important for older people to have a caretaker they know, they can interact with and can feel secure with when they come into the building.

Claude Davis at Bramley Community CentreThe hardest part of the job for Claude is that sometimes he sees people he’s known for years gradually declining, and losing some of their physical capacity. Or if someone has a fall, he helps them and is concerned about them until he gets news a week later.

Claude is originally from St Kitts in the Caribbean, and came to live in Leeds in 1993. He wishes there were organisations like BEA back home, to help older people there and lift people’s lives.

Claude loves cricket and has been a highly successful captain of the Caribbean Cricket Club for the last 13 years, having played there since he came to Leeds. He’s now moving towards retiring from playing to ensure he spends plenty of time with his six year old son.

Claude knows that BEA is very important for older people in the community and believes you should “live life as much as you can”. He is doing his best to help people do that.