Long-serving work couple leaving Fens for Nigeria to build care home

Askham Village Community employees leaving for Nigeria

Askham Village Community employees Isaac and Nikki Ajibade are leaving Doddington for Nigeria to build their own care home. - Credit: Askham Village Community 

A long-serving work couple from one of Cambridgeshire’s care homes are leaving Fenland for Nigeria to launch their own care facility.  

With 20 years of combined service, Isaac and Nikki Ajibade are leaving Askham Village Community to launch their facility in Africa, inspired by the Fen business model.  

Isaac joined the Doddington home in 2012, with his current role seeing him manage Askham Place, one of the five independent care units that make up Askham.  

Nikki, a nurse at Askham House, which specialises in dementia, has been recognised as a driver in providing excellent care and for empowering fellow colleagues to reach their full potential. 

Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, director at Askham, said: “Isaac and Nikki are Askham institutions.  

“They have been with us for many years and to be honest I can’t imagine Askham without them. Their legacy will be here for years to come. 

“Ever since they first started with us, they have always been part of the life and soul of Askham.  

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“I have so many fond memories, particularly when we would celebrate the diversity at Askham through international days and Isaac would always come in his native Nigerian attire, much to the delight of the residents.  

The couple, who married in 1979 having met at the school of nursing in Nigeria in 1976, have three children, who work in the US, Ghana and Nigeria.  

Set to retire at the end of April, the pair, who have lived and worked in the UK for 19 years, have exciting plans to open their care home in Nigeria founded on the same model as Askham.  

The building for the home, which will cater for 18 residents, is already built, and will provide nursing and dementia care, with future plans to provide neuro care too. 

Isaac, aged 55, said: “In life, we are in stages. The main thing is to move when you are strong, and when you can go out and about and do the things you want to.  

“We feel we have achieved three quarters of what we want in life!  

“My children are grown and I’m happy they’re all in good places, so the next thing is to go and enjoy the latter part of our lives where we can do good and rewarding work that brings us joy. 

“We will be using Askham as a source of inspiration for our approach – with a key focus being on the real sense of togetherness we feel here.  

“Askham’s owners care for the place, for the staff, for the residents and it’s this we want to emulate ourselves in Nigeria.  

“To care for people, you need to be compassionate. People need help and I’m always very happy when I’m helping people.” 

Aliyyah added: “As lead nurse of Askham Place for almost a decade, Isaac has witnessed the many high and lows of working in social care, but has always remained focussed on providing the very best care for his residents. 

“Nikki is just as dedicated to her dementia residents in Askham House and her personality shines through in all she does.  

“Just like a proud motherly figure, she runs a tight ship but always makes sure everyone is smiling.

“Most recently, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been what can only be described as a true soldier; motivating her team and ensuring residents were comfortable amidst incredibly trying circumstances. 

“On behalf of everyone associated with Askham, we can’t thank both of them enough for all the vulnerable people they have provided excellent care for, and the countless staff they have empowered and led and supported over their years here.” 

She added: “They’re so dedicated to our residents, and we know they will apply that same dedication to their endeavours in Nigeria.  

“We’re all excited to see it come to fruition and will be doing all we can to support it from afar and we wish them all the very best.” 

For more information on Askham Village Community, visit: www.askhamvillagecommunity.com